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
White Sands National Monument will open at 8 a.m. and close approximately one hour after sunset from September 3 through December 31, 2013. Beginning on January 1, 2014, the monument will open at 9 a.m.
Road Work in the Monument
From Oct. 1 until further notice, a paving project will affect Dunes Drive and the visitor center and gift shop parking lots. Please be alert for changes in traffic patterns and potential traffic delays along Dunes Drive. We appreciate your flexibility.
Closed on Christmas Day
The monument will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25, 2013.
White Sands National Monument is a Protected Area
The sand, plants, crystals, and animals of the monument are national treasures. We know it is tempting to take home a souvenir but even attempting to remove natural objects from within the monument is not just a matter of taking home a small bag of sand or a really cool selenite crystal. It's also a matter of robbing others of the chance to enjoy those things, too.
And if that's not bad enough, consider that it is also a violation of federal law (36 CFR 2.1) that carries with it a hefty fine and can result in criminal charges!
The Code of Federal Regulations 36 CFR 2.1 states that removal or disturbance of archaeological or natural objects, including sand, selenite crystals, plants and animals is strictly prohibited.
The use of metal detectors within the monument is also prohibited under federal regulation 36 CFR 2.1.
All pets must be leashed and under physical constraint at all times. Though welcome in the monument, pets are not allowed in the building. Service animals are permitted inside park buildings.
Speed limits are posted and strictly enforced. Driving on the dunes or interdunal areas is not permitted at any time. Visitors must park only in established parking areas. Remember to keep vehicles locked at all times.
Litter and Trash
Litter is not only a health hazard for humans and animals, but it is also unappealing to look at. Help keep the monument clean by using the trash containers and fireplaces provided throughout the park.
Alcohol in the Monument
Alcohol is prohibited within the park from February 1 through May 31 of every year. This rule is strictly enforced by law enforcement. For more information on why alcohol is banned during this period, see our information on the alcohol ban.
Fireworks, Model Rockets, Etc.
The air space above White Sands National Monument is shared with our military neighbors. As such, fireworks, model rockets, and other such items are not allowed within the park.
Horses and Pack Animals
Horses and other pack animals are allowed within the monument under the following conditions:
Did You Know?
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.