• The dunes in soft light

    White Sands

    National Monument New Mexico

Lake Lucero Tours

Group walking to Lake Lucero

What is the Lake Lucero tour?

Have you ever wondered how the white sands formed? Take a tour to Lake Lucero with a ranger and learn about the formation of the sands and the special plants and animals that live in and around the dunes. These three-hour ranger-guided tours to the playa (dry lakebed) of Lake Lucero are offered once a month in January, February, March, April, November, and December and reservations are required.

Reserving Your Spot

Reservations can be made by following the instructions below and can be made no more than one month in advance of the tour date.


A special use fee is charged for the tour. The fees are $8 per person ages 16 and older, $4 per child 15 and under. There are no pass discounts for this program.

2015 Tour Dates

We no longer give Lake Lucero tours from May through October.

  • Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 9 a.m. The tour is currently full.
  • Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 9 a.m. Registration will open at 8:00 a.m. Mountain Time on March 26, 2015.
  • Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 10 a.m. Registration will open at 8:00 a.m. Mountain Time on October 28, 2015.
  • Sunday, December 27, 2015 at 10 a.m. Registration will open at 8:00 a.m. Mountain Time on November 27, 2015.

Download Lake Lucero travel map

Download Lake Lucero brochure

La Caminata de Lake Lucero

Difficulty and Accessibility

The difficulty of this hike is moderate. The 1.5 mile round trip hike is not on a maintaned trail and leads through an arroyo. The soil is loose and the terrain can be rough. This hike is not wheelchair accessible and is not recommended for those with impaired mobility.

How to get to the start of the tour

The tour will begin at the Small Missile Range Gate intersection with US Highway 70, 25 miles west of WhiteSands National Monument headquarters, between mileposts 174 and 175. The trip will return to the Small Missile Range Gate

Safety Information

  • Cameras are welcome on the tour but may not be used until we arrive at the trailhead and are inside the gate on monument land.
  • You will caravan in your own car from the gate to the trailhead (17.5 miles one way or 35 miles roundtrip). Have a full tank of gas before leaving home and a spare tire in case of a flat.
  • No sandals or open-toed shoes. Closed-toed shoes such as hiking boots or stout walking shoes are required.
  • The tour is three hours long, two of which will be outside. Bring snacks, sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses for everyone in your group. Dress accordingly for the weather.
  • At least a gallon of water per person is required, otherwise you will not be allowed to attend the tour. Water is essential! One or two 20-ounce bottles of water is not enough! Dehydration and heat exhaustion can set in incredibly fast, especially in the summer when temperatures can soar well above 100°F (38°C), and can quickly result in death. Yes, it is absolutely required and no, you do not have to carry the entire gallon but it is expected that you have at least 2 liters per person while walking to the lake bed. Rangers will NOT have extra water to give to visitors on the tour.
  • The hike to and from the lake shore is 1.5 miles over rough terrain and loose soils. This tour is not wheelchair accessible.
  • Pets are welcome as long as they are friendly and remain on a leash.
  • Per missile range rules, no concealed carry weapons are allowed on the tour.


    Directions for Submitting the Form:

    When you download the form, you will see three buttons in the upper right-hand corner of the form itself. The following will explain what the three buttons do.

    1) Email Form:
    Desktop Email Clients: Use this button if you have and use an email client such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora Mail, or other desktop email clients. This button will open your email client and attach the form to an email for you. All you need to do is fill in the "To" and "Subject" fields. You must save the form (instructions below) before attempting to attach it to an email in order to preserve the information you entered into the fields. Otherwise, the form will be sent to us blank. Make sure to click on "Send Copy" if it asks you how you would like to send it. If you choose "Send Link", we will not receive it.

    Web-based Email Clients: If you use a web-based client, such as Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail, you will also need to save the completed PDF file to your computer using the steps below. Then, sign into your email account in your browser. Compose a new email, just as you would normally, and attach the PDF form to your email using the procedures for your particular email provider.

    In the "To" line, enter whsa_interpretation@nps.gov and place "Lake Lucero Tour" in the subject line.

    2) Save Form:
    This button will save the PDF to your computer. After you have filled it out, click the Save Form button. This will open the "Save A Copy" dialog window. Enter a file name and save it to a location that you can easily access it from.

    3) Print Form:
    This button will send the PDF to your default printer. If you do not wish to email it, then this way you can mail or fax the form back to us.

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