White Sands National Park

White Sands National Park

National Park · New Mexico, United States


If the thought of braving below-freezing temps for some winter fun frightens you, consider a getaway to White Sands National Park. With daytime highs hovering in the 50- to 60-degree Fahrenheit range, New Mexico winters offer a more palatable climate for sledding and creating snow angels—minus the snow. Glistening white sand tricks the eye into believing that the scenery is a true winter wonderland, and the park’s hills are popular for sliding down.
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Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin, White Sands National Park protects the world’s largest gypsum dune field. A piece of New Mexico’s unique geology, the dunes create a truly unique park experience. Visitors can hike a wide range of trails (from easy to extremely difficult), join a ranger-led program, or even sled down the face of a gypsum dune in a designated area.
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The white sand – technically it’s gypsum – stretches for miles, forming massive dunes in New Mexico's White Sands National Park. You’ll have to remind yourself it isn’t snow. Pristine dunes are gorgeous and make for great photos, but depending how crowded the park is that day, you might need to hike a bit to find untrampled spots. Buy or rent a plastic sled at the visitor center and start looking for a steep slope for some adventurous fun.
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One of the most recent national parks added to the list, White Sands National Park suits its name. Composed of giant, white sand dunes that span several miles, the park is home to the largest gypsum dunefield in the world. There are many trails to explore the landscape – as well as an eight-mile scenic drive – though many visitors choose to take in the sights by sled. Consider a native plant tour or guided walk around Lake Lucero to learn about the park’s rich biodiversity.
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The powdery white gypsum dunes at White Sands National Park may look like snow-covered hills, but don’t let them fool you – these slopes don’t come with the usual winter temperatures! Visitors to the park can glide down the faces of the dunes along the loop portion of Dunes Drive using plastic snow saucers brought from home or wax ones purchased in the park’s gift shop. Make sure to use the proper sand-sledding technique and choose your sledding path carefully to avoid injury.
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Good to Know

Accessibility Features
Wheelchair Accessible
Good for Kids
Pets Welcome


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