White Sands National Park

A view of White Sands National Park


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A long-standing national monument, White Sands National Park had its designation upgraded in December of 2019 — and for good reason. This surreal field of gypsum sand dunes, tucked into the south-central portion of New Mexico, has dazzled visitors for decades. Along with its stunning beauty, it also has a fascinating historical and cultural context: surrounded by military installments, this part of the country is often used to test defensive technologies such as missiles, lending it an even more otherworldly, and perhaps even eerie, quality.

That said, White Sands is a cheerful place as well; families gather to sled down the dunes, and adventurers take to the sands for hiking, horseback riding, and just taking it all in. The national park is located in a relatively remote stretch of the southwestern desert, and the closest New Mexican communities are La Luz, Alamogordo, and Las Cruces.

As far as landscape characteristics, White Sands is known for — you guessed it — its white gypsum sand dunes, which, covering 275 square miles of the desert, is the largest such gypsum dune field of its kind. The park is also home to a variety of plant and animal life, including roadrunners, coyotes, bobcats, and more than 600 species of invertebrates. It’s also been the site of fossilized footprint findings, by which scientists have learned about a variety of its ancient citizens, like dire wolves, mammoths, and saber-toothed cats. Given its southern desert location, it’s no surprise to most visitors that White Sands can get extremely hot during the summer months, with temperatures frequently nearing (or reaching) the triple digits; the sub-freezing winter nights are often more surprising.

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  • Spring 40-75 F
  • Summer 50-110 F
  • Fall 40-80 F
  • Winter 23-60 F
Location & Hours
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Park Info
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RV Rentals Near White Sands National Park

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White Sands National Park Hiking Trails

White Sands National Park Hiking Trails

White Sands National Park offers five established trails, which range in length, difficulty level, and scenery to ensure there’s something for every visitor. Each trail is marked with posts bearing a specific color and symbol, and park rangers have maps and more information available at the Visitor Center. 

As in all cases, it’s extremely important to ensure you have enough water and sunscreen for your hike, and the NPS recommends visitors don’t start a hike if the current temperature at White Sands is higher than 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things to do Outside White Sands National Park

Things to do Outside White Sands National Park

Although it would be easy to spend an entire weekend — or even an entire lifetime — getting lost in the majesty of the dunes, every adventurer needs to stop for a meal now and again, and nearby missile tests mean that sometimes the park won’t be accessible. Fortunately, there’s plenty more to see and do nearby; here are just a few ideas.




RV Resorts & Campsites in White Sands National Park

While there is no RV parking or camping inside White Sands National Park, the park does offer some backcountry camping options for those looking for a rugged, wilderness experience. 

That said, if you’re looking for a quick upgrade to your road trip, it’s hard to beat an RV for style! You’ll be able to enjoy all the freedom and flexibility of the road while knowing exactly where you’ll lay your head each night, and even make your own meals if you want to! Check out the RVshare rental listings available in your area today.

For more camping options near White Sands National Park, check out Campendium and freecampsites.net.

RV Resorts & Campsites in White Sands National Park

Campgrounds Near White Sands National Park

Find the Best Dumpstations Near White Sands National Park

Find the Best Dumpstations Near White Sands National Park

An unglamorous but necessary aspect of RVing? Dump stations. Knowing where the best dump stations are near you will allow for more ease and less stress in your travels. Dump stations are an easy and convenient way to clear waste from your RV. Use our guides to find dump stations on your route, so you can get back to the good stuff – exploring, relaxing, and making memories on the road.

Dumpstations Near White Sands National Park

How to get to White Sands National Park

How to get to White Sands National Park

White Sands National Park is located just to the east of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and is accessible from that city via U.S. Route 70. It’s about midway between Las Cruces and Alamogordo along that road. You can find directions to the national park by using your onboard GPS or smartphone navigational app, and there are also directions written out on the NPS website. The nearest large, American airport is in the city of El Paso, about an hour and a half away.

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Frequently Asked Questions
    Is White Sands National Park accessible for disabled visitors?

    Yes, White Sands National Park is accessible for disabled visitors. The park's visitor center and a boardwalk hike are both accessible. Full moon nights and other events at the dunes include an accessibility ramp. The park also has a Braille brochure, closed-captioning on park films, and audio descriptions of exhibits in English and Spanish.

    Are pets allowed at White Sands National Park?

    Yes, pets are allowed at White Sands National Park. Guests must clean up after their pets and there are two designated pet walking stations near the visitor center with bags to dispose of pet waste. Pets must also be on a leash.

    How large is White Sands National Park?

    White Sands National Park is 227.8 square miles, or 145,762 acres large. It's situated in the Tularosa Basin and is mainly comprised of white sand dunes made of gypsum crystal.

    What are the top things to do in White Sands National Park?

    Top things to do at White Sands National Park include checking out park history at the visitor center, traveling Dunes Drive, and strolling the Interdune Boardwalk. There are many areas to hike and explore the park and to experience the sand dunes up close.

    Are there designated camping spots in White Sands National Park?

    No, there are no designated camping spots at White Sand Dunes National Park. The park does allow backcountry camping at times, although that can be closed to allow campsites to be rehabilitated. RV campers will find campgrounds available in Las Cruces or Alamogordo, which are both towns near the park.