backpacker on dunes

NPS Photo

Hiking White Sands

White Sands National Monument has several trails available to those wishing to do a bit of hiking while visiting. There are five trails in all and they vary in terms of difficulty and what you will see. While we welcome hikers to enjoy these trails, hiking across the monument is not allowed due to safety concerns and military restrictions.

Download our Hiking brochure or click the links below for a description of the trails:

Staying Safe

You safety is our utmost concern. Please exercise caution when hiking the monument's trails, especially at mid-day or during the heat of summer.

  • Always take at least a gallon of water per person with you, along with plenty of high-energy snacks like granola bars to keep your energy up.
  • Water containers can be filled at the visitor center. No water is available in the dunefield.
  • Never hike alone! Heat stress can set in very quickly, especially in the summer and can have fatal consequences.
  • Pack it in, pack it out! Trash is not only unsightly—it's also unhealthy for both people and the animals that live in the dunefield. Carry back out everything that you carried in with you. Remember the principles of Leave No Trace.
Visit our Safety page for more information on how to enjoy the dunes safely or download our Desert Safety brochure. The monument also has ten primitive backcountry camping sites available on a first-come-first-served basis for visitors wishing to backpack into the dunes to enjoy a night on the sands.

Did You Know?