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
I recommend driving all the way to the end (Alkali Flats) for the best view of the gypsum sand dunes. The dunes closer to the park entrance are shorter and have more vegetation. It is about 8 miles..... more
I recommend driving all the way to the end (Alkali Flats) for the best view of the gypsum sand dunes. The dunes closer to the park entrance are shorter and have more vegetation. It is about 8 miles..... more »
We bought our national park pass to use across NM. We planned for earlier in the morning as the sun gets really and there is no actual shade. You need, water, sunscreen, hat, snacks. We got sleds...
We bought our national park pass to use across NM. We planned for earlier in the morning as the sun gets really and there is no actual shade. You need, water, sunscreen, hat, snacks. We got sleds... 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.
The park ranger was extremely friendly who let us into the park. We didn't have enough time to stop by the visitor centre so can't review that portion of it. We also didn't stay for very long. At most an hour. But it is worth stopping by if you're passing through. It is stunning to walk out and see endless expanse of white sand where no footprints have been and be surrounded by mountains. We even took our shoes off to feel the texture, and the best way I can describe it is a mix between beach sand and desert sand. It was cold, but soft. Definitely one of our favourite parts of the road trip and we would love to come back when the camping loop is open again. It wasn't windy, or overcast when we went which I believe helped. As I read other reviews that said not to go when it's windy. It is $25 USD for your entry. Plus it's close to Roswell, so you could just make a quick stop over there too.
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