• 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.


Sledding down the slip face of dunes is a popular activity at White Sands National Monument. Most sledders use waxed plastic snow saucers (which can be purchased at the park gift shop). Choose a dune that is away from the roadway and parking areas and is free of vegetation.

Sliding downhill is an exhilarating sport. The proper position for sledding is to sit or lay on your back on the top of the sled, with your feet pointing downhill. Sledding head first increases the risk of head injury and should be avoided. Do not stand up while sledding. While the dune sand is soft, the area at the base of the dune can be very hard, and unintentional injuries are surprisingly common.

Children ages 5 to 9 are most susceptible to injury. Parents of young children should not let them sled alone. Older children should be taught to check for hazards. Sled on spacious, gently sloping dunes which have a level run-off at the end so that the sled can come to a halt safely. Make sure the sledding path does not cross traffic and is free from hazards such as vegetation, rocks, or other obstructions.

slender sliding down dunes
Visitors enjoying a favorite pastime at White Sands - sledding

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.