Being in White Sands National Park is like being on another planet. Time stands still, solitude is everywhere and relaxation is inevitable.

Chill (White Sands National Park)

Getting There White Sands National Park is located about 15 miles east of Alamogordo, New Mexico [1]. You can get there by car or by taking a shuttle from nearby cities like Las Cruces or El Paso.

The park is located in the Tularosa Basin and is completely surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range [2], which gives it a unique distinction of having to close on short notice.

Yucca in White Sands National Park

Things to Do There are plenty of things to do at White Sands National Park. The park offers hiking trails, sand sledding, and picnicking areas, among other activities.

The Interdune Boardwalk is a popular hiking trail that provides visitors with introductory information about the park [6]. You can also rent a sled and slide down the sand dunes or have a picnic while enjoying the beautiful scenery [7].

White Sands

Wildlife The park is home to various animal species like mountain lions, red foxes, black bears, African crested porcupines, Vervet monkeys, and several bird species [3]. Visitors are advised to keep a safe distance from the wildlife and not to feed them.

White Sands NP

Visiting Tips It’s recommended to visit the park early in the morning or in the late afternoon to avoid the heat of the day [5].

I'd like a table next to the pianist please

Visitors are also advised to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as there is little to no shade in the park [8].

White Sands National Park Photo Workshop December 2021

Finally, be aware that the park can be closed on short notice due to missile testing at the nearby White Sands Missile Range.

@thenationalparktravelers One of the best places in America to see a sunset! White Sands National Park, New Mexico! #sunsettok #whitesandsnationalpark #nationalpark ♬ som original – 🎧

FAQs

Can you just drive through White Sands National Park?

Yes, you can drive through White Sands National Park on Dunes Drive, which is a 16-mile scenic drive that takes visitors through the heart of the dunes. However, visitors are encouraged to stop and explore the dunes on foot as well [11].

What is special about White Sands National Park?

The most unique aspect of White Sands National Park is its massive gypsum sand dunes, which cover over 275 square miles in the Tularosa Basin at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert [11].

These dunes are constantly shifting and changing in the wind, creating a surreal and otherworldly landscape that is unlike anything else in the world [13].

The park is also located within the White Sands Missile Range, which was established in 1945 and is still used for military testing today [15].

What city is closest to White Sands National Park?

The city closest to White Sands National Park is Alamogordo, New Mexico, which is located about 20 minutes away [17]. Las Cruces is the closest metropolitan city and is about 45 minutes away from the park [11].

What time of year is best to visit White Sands?

The best time to visit White Sands National Park is during the fall months of October, November, and December.

This is because these months have the lowest visitation numbers and the temperature is more moderate, making it easier to hike and explore the dunes.

Additionally, visiting in the winter can provide a unique experience as the sand can freeze, making hiking on the dunes easier. However, it is important to note that the park can get very hot during the summer months, so it is best to visit early in the morning or later in the day to avoid the highest heat and sun [12].

How much time do you need at White Sands National Park?

The amount of time needed to visit White Sands National Park can vary depending on what activities you plan to do. If you plan on hiking, there are 5 different trails with the longest being about 5 miles, so you could spend quite a while there [14].

However, if you just plan to drive through, look at the dunes, play in the sand, and spend some time in the visitor center, 2-3 hours should be enough time [14][18].

What do I need to know before going to White Sands National Park?

Before visiting White Sands National Park, it is important to know that alcohol consumption and/or the possession of alcoholic beverages or receptacles used to store alcoholic beverages are prohibited within the park from February 1st through May 31st for the purpose of protecting visitor safety during the busy spring season [13].

It is also important to bring sunglasses and a hat to protect from the bright sun reflecting off the white sand [10].