White Sands National Monument preserves the world’s largest gypsum dune field — 275 square miles of desert easily viewable from space — along with the plants and animals that have adapted to life in a world of white. Walking through the glistening white wave-like dunes that rise from the heart of the Tularosa Basin in southern New Mexico is truly an otherworldly experience. In addition to the stark white landscape, the sounds from the nearby missile range and Air Force base infiltrate the air.
The weather was perfect the day that I visited White Sands. (I thought for sure it was going to be blazing hot.) But definitely take plenty of water since there is none to be found once you leave the Visitor Center.
There were a few different hiking trails to choose from (including a 5 mile hike through the Alkali Flats), a loop drive, a futuristic picnic area, and SLEDDING down the dunes! I loved that everything was self-guided and that the park made everything so accessible — there were no signs saying ‘stay on trails’, don’t do this, don’t do that…
White Sands truly embodied the “Wisdom of the Sand Dune” postcard in their gift shop, which stated: “Stay loose. Keep moving. Embrace the winds of change.”
MORE INFO: www.nps.gov/whsa