We have started our slow trek to Wyoming. We have given ourselves six weeks to get from Arizona to Wyoming. We prefer the leisure pace when we can schedule it. Our plan it is to visit a few more National Parks before we start our seasonal work in May.
White Sands National Park is near Alamogordo, NM. It is off US 70. These dunes are made from gypsum. In fact, this is the largest gypsum deposits in the world. The sand feels quite firm so it is much easier to walk on than beach sand, in my humble opinion. We saw folks sledding on the dunes. We also saw many folks setting up a shelter on top of the dunes to eat lunch and enjoy the view.
We walked on the nature trail for the dunes. Word to the wise – at every trail head there is a thermometer and a water reminder. The day we visited it was about 78 degrees. Once we got on the dunes the temperature quickly heated up to 90 degrees. Yeah, we were stupid. We walked at noon during the heat of the day. Learn from my unwise walking. It was hot. I was glad I took the warning and carried lots of water. There is no water along the trails to drink. The only water is in the visitor center. I was glad we had an extra gallon in the car to continue to fill our water bottles. You only will have what you carry into the park. I also recommend plenty of sunscreen. I reapplied a few times. Neither of us got sunburn.
We continued through all three parts of the park. When you enter you will be on pavement. The pavement ends but you will continue on gypsum driving trails. The dunes have many private places so you feel like you are in the park alone. You can also see the signs of life. If you look carefully you can see the tracks from all types of wildlife.
This park can be closed during missile testing since it is very close to the White Sands Missile Range. I would recommend calling ahead before you plan your trip so that you are not disappointed by not being able to access this site during the hours you want to be there. During the summer months I would recommend visiting early or late in the day. I can only imagine how hot the dunes must get by early May.