• 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.

Step into the Past

Did you know that salt was once mined in this area? Have you ever wondered about the architecture that you see in the visitor center? Or perhaps your interest lies in the amazing skills of Native American artistry.

Whatever your interest, come Step Into the Past with us and learn about the Tularosa Basin's fascinating history! Take a look beyond the bad men and the territorial conflicts as we explore some of the lesser known aspects of the area's past.


Historic Southwest Architecture Tour
1:00 pm on Saturday, January 1, 2014
The historic visitor center complex at White Sands is a quintessential example of southwest architecture and a national historic district. Designed in Pueblo Revival style, it was a job-creation project during the Great Depresseion of the 1930s. Join a park ranger for a one-hour historical architecture tour of the complex and learn about the architecture and history of this classic southwest structure. Meet in the visitor center patio. Program is free.

Living History Hike to Lake Lucero
9:30 am on Saturday, March 1, 2014
Accompany rangers and living history actors from the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Musum on a journey through the 10,000 years of human habitation in the Tularosa Basin. As you hike to Lake Lucero, colorful characters such as the famous lawman Pat Garrett and local dignitary Tom Charles (who led the fight to establish White Sand National Monument) will share the rich history of the basin. Program fee: $3 per adult (16 years and older), $1.50 for children and America the Beautiful Senior and Access pass holders. Reservations are required and will be accepted starting on February 1, 2014.

All tour reservations must be made through the website. This four-hour program will take place on the Lake Lucero trail. The trail is uneven, rocky, and has a grade of two to three percent. Download the registration form.***

***Please note: Forms are processed in the order they are received according to the date/time stamp on them (faxes included). Any forms received before 12:01am MST on the day registration opens will not be processed.

A Salty Tale: History of Salt Mining in the Tularosa Basin
1:00 pm on Saturday, May 3, 2014
Salt is a foundation of civilization. It is a resource so valuable that wars were fought over it, including two wars in the desert surrounding El Paso. Join Ranger Billy Weinman from Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument for a one-hour presentation about how and why the Spanish mined salt in this area, local salt wars, and the importance of salt in human civilization. Meet in the White Sands National Monument visitor center. Program is free.

Mexican Arts and Craft Show and Demonstrations
9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, July 5-6, 2014
Enjoy a Mexican Arts Show and Sale co-sponsored by the National Park Service and Western National Parks Association. Experience the rich Mexican culture beautifully expressed through extraordinary Mata Ortiz pottery and vibrant Zapotec rugs from Northern Chihuahua and Oaxaca, Mexico. Enjoy live demonstrations throughout each day. You will find a wide array of items from $20 pots up to museum-quality pieces. All artwork is hand made in Mexico. Held in the visitor center. Program is free.

American Indian Artist Craft Show and Demonstration
11:00 pm - 4:00 pm on Saturday, August 30, 2014
Join American Indian artists from New Mexico on the visitor center patio for artists' demonstrations and craft show. Guest artists will teach how they create their handcrafts and explain the history and meaning of their artwork and crafts. This presentation is co-sponsored by the National Park Service and White Sands Trading. Program is free.

Fire on the Dunes: How Humans Shaped the Gypsum Dunes
1:00 pm on Saturday, November 1, 2014
Natural forces such as wind and water are primarily responsible for shaping the environment at White Sands. However, human activities including the use of fire and mining have also contributed to the alteration of the landscape for thousands of years. This program will include a presentation on the history of mineral extraction from the gypsum dunes, Lake Lucero and adjacent Alkali Flat. Join park archaeologist Allison Harvey at the visitor center for this one-hour program. Program is free.

Did You Know?

Aerial photo of parabolic dunes.

Not all sand dunes are alike. Dunes may take many forms, depending on the amount of sand available, the strength and direction of prevailing winds, and the type of vegetation in the area. Four types of dunes can be found in the white sands dunefield.