Staying Safe (Winter)
Visiting White Sands National Monument is an exciting experience but it's very important to safely enjoy the park. Please take a moment to read through the safety tips below.
Drink Plenty of Water
You may not realize that you are dehydrated because you are not sweating. We recommend one gallon of water per person per day. Eat plenty of high energy snacks to keep you going.
Temperatures drop drastically after sunset—anywhere from 20 to 30 degrees. Wear clothing that is appropriate for the day's weather and carry warmer clothing after sunset.
Know Where You Are
Wind moves dunes and erases your tracks. GPS can be unreliable. Use park trail markers, carry a compass, and keep landmarks in sight. Never hike alone.
Wear a hat and sunglases. The white sand reflects the sun so apply sunscreen to all exposed areas even in winter.
Digging holes in the dunes is fun but keep in mind that the dunes move and the sand is heavy. Holes can collapse on you, which can lead to suffocation.
Beware of Icy Roads and Frozen Dunes
It may be harder to spot frozen water on the dunes. For safety reasons, decrease your speed and brake gently to avoid skidding. The dunes freeze in winter so they are much harder than in the summer. This makes sledding faster but it also makes falls hurt more and can even break bones.