Permits, Fees, and Reservations
Certain activities at White Sands may involve either a permit or a reservation. These activities can range from weddings, ranger programs, and commercial filming and photography.
General Special Use
Certain types of activities, including, but not limited to, organized gatherings, distribution of printed material, and public expressions of opinion require a special use permit. Included activities are weddings, first amendment activities, and scattering of ashes. Applications for permits should be submitted well in advance, preferably 2-3 months before the event to allow for consideration and processing.
Commercial Film and Photography
If you are looking to film or photograph your project at White Sands, an application for a permit must be submitted. Various fees may be charged for a permit. You must allow sufficient time for the monument to process your request;check with the monument for guidelines. You will be notified of the status of the application and the necessary steps to secure your final permit.
Early Open or Stay Late
In many National Park Service areas, you may be allowed to enter at anytime, day, night, at sunrise, or sunset to view wildlife. At White Sands National Monument, we share our boundaries with the U.S. Military at Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range. Due to security issues, the monument has specific posted hours of operation. However, it is possible to enter the monument early or to stay past closing for a fee of $50 for each hour that we must open early or close late. If you would like to schedule an Early Entry/Stay Late date, please download the general permit conditions along with the application and follow the instructions included in them to reserve your date.
General Permit Conditions
Certain conditions apply for all special use permits. The general permit conditions must be signed and submitted with all special use permits.
Specific Permit Conditions
Certain conditions apply for weddings, early entry/stay late, and first amendment activities. The specific permit conditions must be submitted with those special use permits.
White Sands National Monument offers the opportunity to backcountry camp, hiking at least a mile to a campsite, amongst the glistening gypsum dunes of New Mexico. This is the only type of camping allowed in the monument. To camp, you must obtain a permit. No advance reservations are accepted. Permits can be obtained at the visitor center or filled in online and printed out. If you print your permit from the website, please fill in only the information on the right-hand side of the permit. You must still bring your permit to the visitor center to be assigned a site by a ranger. Sites are first come, first serve. The permit is available in a fillable pdf format.
Horse and Other Pack Animals
Visitors to the park are welcome to bring and use personally owned pack animals as long as they understand and abide by the relevant rules and regulations. A day use permit is required for all horse and pack animal use and may be obtained at the fee station. Horses and pack animals are not permitted on roads or road shoulders except for necessary crossing.
Academic Fee Waiver
The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), Public Law 108-447, provides the National Park Service statutory authority to allow outings conducted for non-commercial educational purposes by accredited academic institutions to obtain a waiver of park entrance fees.
Group Use Area
From family reunions to weddings to boy scout jamborees, White Sands National Monument has long been a popular location for large gatherings. Our group use area is the perfect location for private functions and is available for reservation. However, certain rules do apply. The group use area is available for day use from 10:00 am (or earlier if available) to closing time daily. It may be tentatively reserved one month to six months in advance for day use or camping. The $25 non-refundable reservation fee must be paid at the time of reservation.
Step on Guide for Commercial Bus Tours
The 16-mile Dunes Drive is suitable for commercial bus tours. Park rangers may be available to serve as step-on guides and can be reserved for one-hour onboard presentations.If you would like a step-on guide, please make your reservation as early as possible. Reservations are required a minimum of two weeks in advance of the tour date.
Ranger Program Request Form
If you would like a ranger to give your group an interpretive program, please fill out our Ranger Program Request Form and submit it at least two weeks prior to your visit.
Due to staffing limitations, we can only take one group at a time with up to 50 persons. We will make every attempt to schedule a ranger for your group's visit. However, we cannot confirm a ranger for a requested program until 14 days prior to your visit.