Exploring White Sands National Park

Exploring White Sands National Park

White Sands National Park, located in southern New Mexico, is a stunning park, characterized by its vast expanse of white gypsum sand dunes. Whether you're planning a day trip or an extended stay, this guide will help you make the most of your visit to White Sands National Park. 

White Sands National Park is home to the world's largest gypsum dunefield, covering 275 square miles of desert. The park was established as a national monument in 1933 and was re-designated as a national park in 2019. Its striking white dunes create a surreal landscape that is both serene and awe-inspiring.

Getting to White Sands National Park

White Sands National Park is located in southern New Mexico, about 15 miles southwest of Alamogordo. The nearest major airport is El Paso International Airport (ELP), approximately 85 miles away. The city of Las Cruces is about 51 minutes away from White Sands and is a great place to stay with lots of hotels and amenities. 

Best Time to Visit
  • Spring (March to May): Offers pleasant temperatures and blooming wildflowers.
  • Summer (June to August): Hot temperatures; visit early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat.
  • Fall (September to November): Mild temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Winter (December to February): Cool temperatures; a great time for photography with fewer visitors.

Things to Do at White Sands National Park
1. Hiking:

  • Interdune Boardwalk: A short, accessible walk with informative exhibits about the dune ecosystem.
  • Dune Life Nature Trail: A moderate one-mile loop offering insights into the wildlife and plant life of the dunes.
  • Alkali Flat Trail: A challenging five-mile round trip hike with stunning views of the dunes and Tularosa Basin.
2. Sledding:
  • Bring or rent a sled to slide down the steep dune faces. Sledding is a popular and fun activity for all ages.

3. Photography: 

  • The white sands create a striking backdrop for photography, especially during sunrise and sunset when the lighting is most dramatic.

4. Ranger Programs:

  • Participate in ranger-led tours and programs to learn more about the park's natural and cultural history.

Tips for Visiting White Sands National Park

1. Prepare for the Weather:
- Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect against the intense sun.
- Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially during the summer months.

2. Respect the Environment:
- Stay on designated trails to protect the fragile ecosystem.
- Pack out all trash to keep the park pristine.

3. Safety First:
- Be aware of the potential for extreme weather, including sudden thunderstorms.
- Keep an eye out for wildlife, such as rattlesnakes, and give them space.

Nearby Attractions

1. White Sands Missile Range Museum:
- Learn about the history of the missile range and its role in space exploration.

2. Spaceport America:
- Visit the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport, located about 50 miles from the park.

3. Oliver Lee Memorial State Park:
- Explore hiking trails and enjoy camping opportunities in a beautiful desert setting.

White Sands National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and anyone looking to experience one of the most unique landscapes in the United States. With its stunning white dunes, diverse activities, and rich history, this national park offers something for everyone.

If you want to bring the vibes of White Sands with you, check out our White Sands Perfume and National Parks Collection.