I will start off by saying this, there is no place quite like the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. Considered the largest gypsum dunefield in the world, this ethereal landscape is mystical, beautiful, and otherworldly. Miles and miles of spectacular white sand stretch out before you, forming natural undulations as far as the eye can see.
We arrived shortly after 6am from El Paso. Because we had a National Park Pass, we were able to negotiate an early arrival time. Typically, you can only go in when the gates open at 7am. We wanted to catch sunrise, so the very nice park ranger agreed to come and open the gates for us promptly at 6am. We had a 10 minute window, and fortunately we made it in time.
It had rained the night before, so the sand at the White Sands National Monument wasn’t quite as soft as it normally is. However, that made it much easier to climb up the dunes!
Not only can you go on a mini hike, you can also grab a sled and go sledding down the dunes. I would also highly recommend putting a pin down where you parked because after a few hills, it all starts to look the same.
To visit the White Sands National Monument and see it in all its glory firsthand, check out the National Park Services website for updated info. I would recommend trying to go early in the morning or later in the evening, as it starts to get really hot and bright in the sun. And, there are little covered areas for picnicking if you’re so inclined!