Here, great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert and preserves a piece of New Mexico's unique geology. Typically, gypsum is rarely found as sand because it dissolves in contact with water. But, the isolation and weather patterns of the Tularosa Basin creates a truly unique experience for intrepid park explorers. Visitors can hike (trails range from easy to extremely difficult, perfect for every-level of experience), partake in education ranger-led programs and even sled down the dunes in a few designation places.
White Sands National Park preserves not only major portion of this unique dune field, but also the plants and animals that have successfully adapted to this constantly changing environment.
White Sands was established as a national monument in 1933 and re-desginated as a national park in 2019. Today, its location between several military bases means the monument is sometimes closed due to missile tests. Visitors are always encouraged to check before making the trek.
Stay inspired—sign up for our emails, learn how to become a member, and follow us on social media to get the latest park stories.