White Sands National Monument. Detailed guide of White Sands National Monument

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Detailed guide of White Sands National Monument In southern New Mexico, near Alamogordo

White Sands National Monument. Detailed guide of White Sands National Monument In southern New Mexico, near Alamogordo

White Sands National Monument

In southern New Mexico, near Alamogordo

 

The glistening white sands of the world's largest gypsum dunefield are partially protected by this fascinating park. Spread over 176,000 acres, the hills rise to 60 feet in some places, providing a harsh environment for the hardy species of flora and fauna that survive here today. Glimpses of the desert's plants and creatures are at the Heart of the Sands Nature Center, or along the 8-mi scenic drive through the park. Full-moon shows at the amphitheater program offer spectacular starlight views over the dunes. The monument was proclaimed on January 18, 1933.

 

WHAT TO SEE & DO

Auto touring, hiking, picnicking, watching video. Facilities: Visitor center, hiking trails. Book-and-gift shop, picnic tables with grill fires. Programs & Events: Daily sunset nature walks, guided and self-guided tours, Lake Lucero tours (monthly). Evening campfire programs (Memorial Day-Labor Day), full-moon programs (June-Aug.). Tips & Hints: Bring water if hiking, and a compass and map if hiking off trails. Call ahead to see if park is closed for White Sands Missile Range testing. Go in fall and winter for best weather, spring for whitest dunes and dune movement because of winds, May for wildflowers, late May-mid-June for yucca blooms. Busiest July and Aug., least crowded in Nov and Jan.

 

FOOD, LODGING & SUPPLIES

Camping: In the park: backcountry camping (permit required, see below) and group campsite. In Alamogordo: Desert Paradise (1090 U.S. 70 west, tel. 505/434-2266; 30 RV sites; $20; flush toilets, showers, hook-ups).  Hotels: None in park. In Alamogordo: Best Western Desert Aire (1021 S. White Sands Blvd., tel. 505/437-2110; 99 rooms; $57), Holiday Inn Express (1401 S. White Sands Blvd., tel. 505/437-7100 or 800/465-4329; 108 rooms; $59). X Restaurants: In the park: snacks at visitor center. In Alamogordo: Compass Rose (2203 E. 1st St., tel. 505/434-9633; $5-$9; closed Sun.), Margos Mexican Food (504 1st St., tel. 505/434-0689; $5-$10).  Groceries: None in park. In Alamogordo: J&J Mini Market (901 U.S. 70, tel. 505/434-4317).

 

FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS

Entrance fee: $3 adults, free ages 17 and under. Backcountry camping permits ($3 per night) required. Lake Lucero tours: $3 adults, $1.50 ages 16 and under. No hunting. No vehicles or bikes on trails or off roads. Leashed pets on trails. Dunes Dr. open Memorial Day-Labor Day, daily 7 am-9 pm; Labor Day-Memorial Day, daily 7-sunset. Closed during missile range testing. Visitor center open Memorial Day-Labor Day, daily 8-7; Labor Day-Memorial Day, daily 8-5.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

15 mi southwest of Alamogordo and 52 mi northeast of Las Cruces via U.S. 70. Closest airport: El Paso, TX (90 mi).

 

CONTACTS

White Sands National Monument (Box 1086, Holloman AFB, NM 88330-1086, tel. 505/679-2599, fax 505/479-4333,). Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce (1301 N. White Sands Blvd., Alamogordo, NM 88310, tel. 505/437-6120 or 800/826-0294

White Sands National Monument. Detailed guide of White Sands National Monument In southern New Mexico, near Alamogordo