• 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.

Your Dollars At Work

user fee logo

Ever wonder where all those park entrance fee dollars go? Well, 80% of them stay right here at White Sands National Monument! The other 20% goes into a common fund that helps support parks that do not charge entrance fees.

The money collected from entrance fees makes it possible for us to fund projects that improve visitor use and enjoyment. It also helps us present educational programs, maintain a safe environment for visitors, and preserve the monument's natural resources.


Current Projects (in progress)

Wayfinding Signs - An updated system of wayfinding and regulatory signs is needed to assist visitors in finding their way around the monument. Planning for this project began in 2011 and will be completed over the summer of 2013.

Condition Assessment of Historic Sites, Roads and Trails - The purpose of this project is to survey and document historic sites, roads and trails within the park. Known historic sites with features will be recorded. The historic sites, roads, trails and associated features will be recorded with condition assessments and determinations of eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places. The sites and roads will be mapped and incorporated in to GIS. This work will build a knowledge base of park history and be incorporated into interpretive stories and programs. Planning for this project began in 2012.

Condition Assessment of Archaeological Sites - The purpose of this project is to survey and document archaeological sites within the monument. The sites will be mapped and incorporated in to GIS. The condition of these sites will also be assessed. Work will build knowledge base of park history and be incorporated into interpretive stories and programs. Planning for this project began in 2012.


Projects Completed in 2012

Treatment of Non-Native Saltcedar - As an invasive species, saltcedar compromises not only the view of visitors, taking away from the pure white gypsum dunes, it also spreads rapidly and alters the dunefield's formation, threatening the stability of the dunes and the unique ecosystems that form the monument. Over 100 acres of the most concentrated stands of saltcedar (tamarisk) were treated. Through this project, spraying and cutting were used to treat the most dense stands throughout the monument.

Visitor Center HVAC System - A new high energy efficient programmable HVAC system was successfully installed in the Visitor Center and replaced the outdated 1998 system. Several energy saving steps were taken to improve the system and make for a more climate controlled atmosphere and comfortable building for visitors and staff. Planning for this project began in 2011 and was completed in early 2012.


Projects Completed in 2011

New Exhibits in the Visitor Center - For the first time in 30 years, the monument was able to update its museum exhibits to reflect the most up-to-date information. Planning for this project began in 2009 and was completed with the installation of the new exhibits in 2011. Take a look at the gallery below to see what changed.



Projects Completed in 2010

New Vault Toilets - Two new vault toilets were installed at the Dunes Life Nature Trail and at the park's boardwalk trail. Both buildings include men's and women's restrooms provide improved and modern facilities at convenient locations.


Projects Completed in 2009

Entrance Station - In 2009, the old entrance station was replaced to reduce traffic safety hazards, improve visitor safety and contact services, address employee health and safety concerns, accommodate increased visitor use, and improve park operations. The new fee collection station buildings were relocated further from U.S. Hwy 70. This lengthened the stacking lanes to eliminate traffic interference in the highway and provided parking for staff and visitors.

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.