White Sands National Monument is a white washed oasis of gypsum dunes dotted with greenery, and truly one of the most unusual and beautiful landscapes in the US. Located in the northern Chihuahuan Desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico, it is an easy drive from the airport in El Paso, or the perfect addition to any Southwest road trip. Here are a few tips for your visit to the park:
Stay: Alamogordo is the nearest town, and it is home to most chain hotels and inns. It also has quite a few charming motels, neon lights and all. The White Sands Motel is a wonderful choice, with friendly staff, clean rooms and even free sleds to borrow.
Do: Wake up to catch the sunrise, or stay late to see the sunset. The white sand reflects color, magnifying those cotton candy hues that are so magnificent.Rent or borrow sleds. Sledding down the dunes is the epitome of fun, and it does not get old. While there are trail markers, I’d recommend just wandering as you please, hiking up the hills, and sledding down the other side. The best!Catch a lightning storm (from a safe distance!) if you are able to. Wild!
Keep in mind:
Pack lots of water. Even when the temperature does not feel as hot, staying hydrated is so important. The National Park Service recommends one gallon of water per person per day, so be sure to pack accordingly. Snacks are important, too, as the hiking is quite a workout. High energy snacks like granola bars, fruit, nuts, etc. are all great choices to load in your backpack.