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.
Dune Life Nature Trail
Distance from Visitor Center: 2.5 miles (4 km)
Length of trail: One mile (1.6 km) loop
Description of trail: This is your first opportunity to walk on the sand. The trail is marked by orange posts buried in the sand. This trail is located along the edge of the dune field and is more heavily vegetated than other sections of the dunefield. The trail starts down on the desert plain and is level for the first 300 yards before going up a steep slope onto the sand dunes.
Trailside exhibits interpret the wildlife of the White Sands. Each exhibit panel has two sets of information--one for adults and one for kids.
This is NOT a play area. The trail is for nature study. You may play out in the Heart of the Sands near the picnic areas, away from plants and away from the road.
Did You Know?
Most desert animals are nocturnal, coming out to feed only at night when temperatures are cooler. Every animal in the white sands makes tracks on the dunes as it moves, leaving clues to its nocturnal activities.