Exploring the Southwest comes with an abundance of places to explore. New Mexico is no different and one only needs to look at a map, and there south of Albuquerque is the White Sands National Monument. I drove in from the south, via an east to the west corridor through the top side of the Lincon National Forest.
The White Sands National Monument is another landscape in New Mexico worth exploring via your adventure travel. Surrounded by mountains, this landscape is in the Tularosa Basin, north of the Chihuahua desert. Shining bright with gypsum-based sand is a landscape of dunes, up to 60 feet high, that continuously change by the winds of change. This ever-changing landscape draws tourists from around the world.
Table of contents
Here is a video from my trip to White Sands National Monument and it has details from what it looks like and from a real personal experience. Nothing is staged and I do my best to give you the reader a good idea of what to expect.
White Sands National Monument Video
Preparing For The Trip
Frequency Asked questions:
7:00 am to 9:00 pm – No advanced reservations are needed.
9:00 am to 6:00 pm – walk-up table only
$25.00 per vehicle and valid for seven consecutive days and payable at the entrance booth on Dunes Drive. There are special passes for the elderly and veterans so make sure to visit here for additional costs. I personally have a veterans pass that gives me lifetime access to federal parks.
Sleds can be purchased at our onsite gift shop, White Sands Trading Company, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Questions about sleds can be answered at 575-479-1629.
You can visit the main website for the White Sands National Monument for additional information. This link will take you to the correct location. Visit this website for the Park Information Website
My personal experience
Once I arrived I first stopped at the visitors center where a nice woman gave me simple information of times, locations, and maps. The biggest tip was the park gate closes at 9 PM so be out before. It only took a few minutes before I began seeing the white caps of the sand dunes. It’s actually very amazing to find this in a higher elevation desert for reasons that are still unknown to me. I stopped off at the second major trail off to the left-hand side as you drive in.
Make sure to have your supplies ready to go since it is hot, windy, and very dry. Your clothing should cover your bare skin if you are sensitive to sunburns. An easy to access supply of water is also necessary before, during, and after so have plenty. A good hat really helps and the sun reflects back up from the sand so I found this critical. Shoes that can be drained of hot sand were also needed, and I stopped several times to just drain them of sand. I normally wear a loose short sleeve shirt, in these environments but a long sleeve lightweight shirt would have been better.
The trails are well kept, and even with the sand blowing around the trails have markers to keep you on track. I did take some off-trail walks to the top of some of the dune caps for the view. The environment has what I would consider moon-like with little vegetation in the area of the dunes themselves. You need to look for the trail markers to be able to stay on the trail. Venturing off the trail does not seem to be any big deal, and I did do so to get some views of the park overall.
Some additional articles on places from around the USA and the world.
Some additional videos on traveling New Mexico in the United States.
Here is a additional article about the 16 Top Travel Places in New Mexico to Plan a Backpacking Trip