White Sands National Monument
Travel InformationWith a size of more than 250 square miles the world's larges gypsum dune field encloses one of New Mexicos famous nature attractions: The White Sands National Monument. Compared to the typical sea beach sand dunes, White Sand's gypsum dunes appear in a brilliant white. This makes every sunset a magnificient view, as the red sky light is reflected all across the desert. Together with a variety of different plants this makes for a terrific nature experience.
Getting thereRight at the beginning of I25 in New Mexico in Las Cruces, take U.S. Route 70 to Alamogordo. The monument's entrance is some 20 miles before Alamogordo on your left hand side. You can find cheap accomondation in Alamogordo in a motel, a campground or an RV park.
Exploring the parkDunes as high as 60 feet, compact sand formations, desert plants and animals invite the visitor to explore the dune field by car and especially by hiking. Several nature trails and foot pathes lead the visitor through the dunes. Be prepared for the heat by taking plenty of water, sun screen and a hat with you on your hikes. It is especially nice to stay late and enjoy the sunset in the park. If you want to stay even later, the park offers organized guided star tours, which introduce you to a night sky many people may never have seen before. You can get more information about the dates of these tours at the monument's visotor center and the White Sands National Monument NPS web site.
The quality of the pathes varies from a simple marked trail through the sand to fully accessible wooden boarded trails. Just as variable may be the trail length, which can take you on a several hour long round trip.
The visitor center has maps and can also give you some good advice to find your way through the park.