In White Sands.
Like a mirage, dazzling white sand dunes shimmer in the tucked-way Tularosa Basin in southern New Mexico. They shift and settle over the Chihuahuan Desert, covering 275 square miles—the largest gypsum dunefield in the world. White Sands National Monument preserves more than half of this oasis, its shallow water supply, and the plants and animals living here.
The sand feels like satin and is surprisingly cool to the touch, even on a hot summer day. Gypsum does not absorb heat.
When it rains, it dissolves in water and flows down on the basin floor where it stays until it dries up and becomes sand forming the dunes that surround us, in a perpetual cycle.
We simply stand in awe as this divine natural beauty unfolds before our eyes.
(In stark contrast to the destructive powers prevalent in the adjacent military site; the White Sands Missile Range.)
Good to know: apart from unexpected closures due to weather conditions, the park may also be inaccessible due to missile testing! Because of the adjacent White Sands Missile Range, the road is occasionally closed for safety and closures can last up to three hours. U.S. Highway 70 between Alamogordo and Las Cruces is also closed during times of missile testing.
Please always consult the park closure web page before visiting, to confirm access.
White Sands National Park, NM
(formely a “National Monument”, it transitioned to a “National Park” in 2019)
October 11th, 2018