• 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 »

  • Summer Monument Hours

    The monument currently opens at 7 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.

Scattering of Ashes

White Sands National Monument is certainly a beautiful place that has touched many hearts. On occassion, visitors have wanted to memorialize a loved one who has passed away by scattering their ashes on the wind blowing through the dunes, and we certainly understand that sentiment.

Memorializing a loved one in this way does require a special permit. This permit is not available online, but can be obtained from the superintendent by contacting the park at (575) 479-6124.

If you do decide to request such a memorial service, please be aware that there are some rules that must be observed.

  1. Remains must have been cremated and pulverized.
  2. Scattering by persons on the ground must be performed at least 100 yards from any trail, road, developed facility or body of water.
  3. Areas within White Sands National Monument where the scattering of ashes are prohibited are any location south of the Dunes Drive from the Dune Life Nature Trail to Picnic Area B, the Big Pedestal Road from Park Headquarters to the end, the Backcountry Camping area, and withing 1/4 mile of the Visitor Center and Headquarters complex.
  4. Scattered remains shall not be distinguishable to the general public, and shall not be left in any type of container.
  5. Containers shall be removed from the area.
  6. Except for authorization to disperse human remains by scattering, nothing in this permit shall be construed as authorizing an entry or activity otherwise prohibited or restricted by law or regulation.

Did You Know?

Photo of sand grains

The gypsum that makes up the white sands starts out as clear, translucent sand grains. As the wind bounces the sand grains along the ground, they collide and scratch each other. The scratches change the way light reflects off the grains, making the sand appear white.