White Sands National Monument, Alamogordo

#1 of 1,002 in Things to do in New Mexico
Geologic Formation · National Park
Glistening white dunes at White Sands National Monument have mesmerized visitors for centuries. Marvel at 712 km (275 mi) of sparkling sand, the world’s largest dune field of rare gypsum. Begin your trip at the visitor center--an excellent example of Spanish pueblo-adobe architecture. From here you can set off on a 13 km (8 mi) scenic drive to the heart of the dunes. Stop along the way for short walks, wayside exhibits, and photos of the otherworldly views. You can also hike a variety of trails. Only the top few inches of the dunes are loose, making them easy to walk. Sledding is also a popular here. Bring a snow saucer or buy one from the gift shop to race down the sand slopes. No water is available in the dune field, so fill bottles at the visitor center. To visit White Sands National Monument and other attractions in Alamogordo, use our Alamogordo trip planning app.
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White Sands National Monument reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
4,088 reviews
  • I can't say enough beautiful words to describe this unusual spot. I was not expecting to have my mind blown at how clean, quiet, and open it is. The mountains in the background complete the perfect....  more »
  • Very very impressive. If you are a simpleton or need high levels or stimulation, this might not be the place for you. Be aware of the weather when you go; a super hot day would suck the fun out of.....  more »
  • Really exceeded my expectations. Went on New Years Eve in really really cold weather... Found it was like a winter wonder land except you don't get wet. The sand was super soft and powdery and a lot of fun to sled on. There is lots of room to explore without feeling crowded. The roads are suitable for an RV and there is generally ample parking. You really have to hike a way to get to clean dunes with no foot prints. Sleds are available for free when the park opens (people drop them off the previous day). Really unique and fun day activity. If you enjoy photography, evening golden hours have the sun setting behind the western mountain range so go out where there aren't any prints and wait. You will likely find other photographers on the horizon doing the same thing as you. Lastly, even on crowded days it doesn't feel crowded, you get lots of space. Have fun.
  • Such a beautiful park! It was chilly when we came and the sand was cold but we bought a used sled at the visitor centor for $10 and a cube of wax for I believe $2. You get $4 back for returning your sled. It was not easy to wax the sled with the cube at all. I think it was just too cold. My daughter was able to sled though. We didn't find any super huge dunes but I guess that would have been more of a pain to get back up. You can drive around and try different dunes. They have lots of places to pull off and park. I saw picnic shelters as well. I would recommend going when it's not super cold or super hot. 3 hours is plenty of sledding time but an hour and a half was not quite enough. I would say give yourself at least 2 hours.

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