• The dunes in soft light

    White Sands

    National Monument New Mexico

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Closures and Missile Tests

    Upcoming Missile Tests: From time to time the missile range that surrounds us performs missile testing that may require the closure of the park or Highway 70. Please follow the link below for up to date information on closures More »

  • New Monument Hours

    The monument currently opens at 8 a.m. and closes roughly 1 hour after sunset. More »

  • Road Safety Corridor

    The first four miles of Dunes Drive is a road safety corridor. Slowing or stopping in the corridor is prohibited. Dune Life Nature and Playa trails are also temporarily closed. The staff of White Sands National Monument apologizes for the inconvenience.

Paleontology

Mammoth Tracks at White Sands

NPS Photo

Buried Treasures

You may not know it, but some pretty exciting things are buried beneath the dunes! From mammoths to predators, the wind has uncovered some fantastic finds.

As you walk through the dunefield, it's hard to think of this vast undulating landscape as having once been first beneath a shallow inland sea and then, millions of years later, under a giant lake. But this was indeed the case.

Today, around the edges of what was once Lake Otero, researchers are finding the long buried tracks of Columbian mammoths, a species of prehistoric camel, and much more. Long ago, large herds of creatures roamed the Tularosa basin. Below, you will find information on research going on in the monument regarding these unique and exciting finds.

 

Mammoth Prints from the Upper Pleistocene of the Tularosa Basin
Footprints on the Alkali Flat in Doña Ana County were discovered as early as 1932.

Did You Know?

Photo of ripples on a dune

The wind moves small sand grains by bouncing them along the surface in a process called "saltation." Saltating sand grains create a beautiful pattern of ripples on the dune surface. Larger sand grains are struck by saltating grains and slowly roll forward, a process known as "surface creep."