Special Event


Lake Lucero Tour

White Sands National Park


$8 per adult, $4 per child


Small Missile Range Gate

Dates & Times


Saturday, January 21, 2023


10:00 AM


3 hours

Type of Event

Guided Tour


Have you ever wondered how the white sands formed? Take a tour to Lake Lucero with a ranger and learn about the formation of the sands and the special plants and animals that live in and around the dunes. These three-hour ranger-guided tours to the playa (dry lakebed) of Lake Lucero are offered once a month and reservations are required.
A special use fee is charged for the tour: $8.00 per person ages 16 and older, $4 for children. Federal recreation passes do not apply for this special tour. 
DIFFICULTY OF THE HIKE- Moderate. The 1.5 mile round trip hike is through an arroyo and is not a maintained trail. The soil is loose and the terrain can be rough. This hike is not wheelchair accessible and is not recommended for those with impaired mobility.

The tour will begin at the Small Missile Range Gate intersection with US Highway 70, 25 miles west of White Sands National Park headquarters, between mileposts 174 and 175. The trip will return to the Small Missile Range Gate three hours after the start time.

  • Cameras are welcome on the tour but may not be used until we arrive at the trailhead and are inside the gate on monument land.
  • You will caravan in your own car from the gate to the trailhead (17.5 miles one way or 35 miles roundtrip). Have a full tank of gas before leaving home and a spare tire in case of a flat.
  • No sandals or open-toed shoes. Closed-toed shoes such as hiking boots or stout walking shoes are required.
  • The tour is three hours long, two of which will be outside. Bring snacks, sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses for everyone in your group. Dress accordingly for the weather.
  • At least a gallon of water per person is required, otherwise you will not be allowed to attend the tour. Water is essential! One or two 20-ounce bottles of water is not enough! Dehydration and heat exhaustion can set in incredibly fast, especially in the summer when temperatures can soar well above 100°F (38°C), and can quickly result in death. Yes, it is absolutely required and no, you do not have to carry the entire gallon but it is expected that you have at least 2 liters per person while walking to the lake bed. Rangers will NOT have extra water to give to visitors on the tour.
  • The hike to the lake shore is 3/4 of a mile over rough terrain and loose soils. This tour is not wheelchair accessible.
  • Pets are welcome as long as they are friendly and remain on a leash.
  • Per missile range rules, no concealed carry weapons are allowed on the tour.
  • Possessing or removing any natural, cultural, Native American artifacts, paleontological and archaeological resources, including gypsum, selenite crystals is prohibited

More information

Reservation or Registration: Yes

Tickets are available on www.recreation.gov
Make Reservation or Register