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White Sands National Park

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Overview

Spanning 275 square miles of desert, the glistening sands of White Sands National Park offer countless opportunities for discovery. Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin, these giant wave-like dunes create the world's largest gypsum dunefield. Although seemingly barren and stark, the dunes are home to an amazing diversity of life, and the national monument preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield and the plants and animals that live here.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
The White Sands Visitor Center hours vary by season. Check the park's website for current hours of operation.

Fees & Passes:
To learn more about park fees, click here.

Visiting Tips

White Sands National Park is open daily, year round, except on December 25. Hours of operation vary throughout the year. Check the park's website for current hours of operation. The park may close due to weather or road conditions in the winter.

Additionally, due to missile testing on the adjacent White Sands Missile Range, the road into the monument may be closed for periods of up to three hours. U.S. Highway 70/82 between Alamogordo and Las Cruces is also closed during missile testing. Visitors are encouraged to call the visitor center at (575) 479-6124 ext. 236 or 206 to verify that a closure is not in effect.

Camping & Lodging

There are ten primitive backcountry camping sites that area available on a first-come, first-served basis. A permit is required and can be obtained at the front desk of the visitor center. The campsites are accessible from the backcountry trail and are located between 3/4 of a mile to 1.1 miles from the start of the trailhead. There are no water or toilet facilities at the campsites. For more information, visit the park's website.

Food & Drink

There is no restaurant or café at White Sands National Park. The gift shop located in the visitor center does offer packaged sandwiches, snacks, water, and soda. Nearby dining options can be found in the towns of Alamogordo and Las Cruces. Alcohol is prohibited within the park from February 1 through May 31 of every year.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

White Sands National Park offers a variety of ranger-led programs and other tours, talks, and hikes. To learn more about these ranger-led programs and to see the current events calendar, click here.

Other Activities

White Sands National Park offers a variety of ways for you to explore the beautiful dunes. Whether participating in a ranger-led tour on foot, an overnight excursion at a backcountry campsite, an afternoon picnic on the sand, an eight-mile scenic dune drive, or sledding on the steep faces of the dunes, you are sure to enjoy your time spent on the magnificent dunes.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download a variety of free brochures to help plan your visit, click here.

Recommended Routes in White Sands National Park - 1

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Favorite Sunset at White Sands
Intermediate Intermediate

Alkali Flat Trail

5.0 mi 8.0 km 95' Up 29.03 m Up 95' Down 29.07 m Down

Holloma…, NM
Explore in 3D

White Sands National Park Hiking

  • 3 Miles 5 Kilometers of Trail
  • 1 Recommended Route
  • 2 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 3 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 0 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
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Weather Averages


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Trails in White Sands National Park - 4

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0.9 mi 1.5 km #1Dune Life Nature Trail
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate
Holloman Air Force Base, NM
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate
Holloman Air Force Base, NM 12 
1.7 mi 2.8 km #2Backcountry Camping Trail
Intermediate Intermediate
Holloman Air Force Base, NM
Intermediate Intermediate
Holloman Air Force Base, NM
0.2 mi 0.3 km #3Playa Trail
Easy Easy
Holloman Air Force Base, NM
Easy Easy
Holloman Air Force Base, NM
0.2 mi 0.3 km #4Interdune Boardwalk
Easy Easy
Holloman Air Force Base, NM
Easy Easy
Holloman Air Force Base, NM 11 

Photos of White Sands National Park - 50

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White Sands
Jan 26, 2016 near Holloma…, NM
Flowering plant on the dunes.
Jan 28, 2016 near Holloma…, NM
The dunes and the San Andres Mountains.
Jan 28, 2016 near Holloma…, NM
Looking west sky before the sunrise.
Nov 29, 2017 near Holloma…, NM
White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
Apr 3, 2020 near Holloma…, NM
White Sands National Monument, United States - Hike To The Horizon
Apr 3, 2020 near Holloma…, NM
Rainbow over White Sands
Apr 3, 2020 near Holloma…, NM
Sunset at White Sands
Apr 3, 2020 near Holloma…, NM
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