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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

White Sands National Park - New Mexico

White Sands National Park is an American national park located in the state of New Mexico and completely surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range. The park covers 145,762 acres in the Tularosa Basin, including the southern 41% of a 275 sq mi field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. This gypsum dune field is the largest of its kind on Earth, with a depth of about 30 feet, dunes as tall as 60 feet, and about 4.5 billion short tons of gypsum sand.

Approximately 12,000 years ago, the land within the Tularosa Basin featured large lakes, streams, grasslands, and Ice Age mammals. As the climate warmed, rain and snowmelt dissolved gypsum from the surrounding mountains and carried it into the basin. Further warming and drying caused the lakes to evaporate and form selenite crystals. Strong winds then broke up crystals and transported them eastward. A similar process continues to produce gypsum sand today.

Many species of mammals make their home in White Sands National Park, including foxes, rodents, coyotes, bobcats, badgers, rabbits, and porcupines.

We found this park to be amazing. This is a park you want to go out of your way to see. You will actually feel like you are in snow the entire time you are on the white sand dunes.

Things to Do and See:

  • Take the scenic route on the 16-mile roundtrip Dunes Drive

  • Spend the night stargazing at the rustic campsite

  • Hop in the saddle and explore the horse-accessible region

  • Check out the Adobe style visitor center built in the 1930s

  • Buy a waxed snow saucer at the gift shop and sled the dunes

  • Traipse the interlude boardwalk with family and friends

  • Gear up for a strenuous 5-mile journey on the Alkali Flay Trail

  • Look for White Sand plants and animals on the Dune Life Nature Trail

  • Enjoy a day or overnight trek on Backcountry Camping Trail

  • Stop and smell the yuccas in the Park‘s native plant garden


Plenty of water

Bring sunglasses. The sand is so bright along with the skyline that it is very difficult on your eyes

Contact Information:

19955 Highway 70 West Alamogordo, NM 88310

Phone: (575) 479-6124


White Sands Range at a Distance


Visitor Center


Gallery of photos

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