White Sands National Park
The Tularosa Basin in the northern Chihuahuan Desert is a mountain-ringed valley encompassing one of the world's great natural wonders -- the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Here, giant, wave-like dunes of gypsum sand move across 275 square miles of desert creating the world's largest gypsum dune field.
The brilliant white dunes are ever changing: growing, cresting, then slumping, but always advancing. Slowly but relentlessly the sand, driven by strong southwest winds, covers everything in its path. Within the extremely harsh environment of the dune field, even plants and animals adapted to desert conditions struggle to survive. Only a few species of plants grow rapidly enough to survive burial by moving dunes, but several types of small animals have evolved a white coloration that camouflages them in the gypsum sand.
White Sands National Park preserves a major portion of this gypsum dune field, along with the plants and animals that have successfully adapted to this constantly changing environment.
Rates & Fees
- The Park entrance fee was $5.00 per person, 17 years of age or older. Effective January 1, 2020, the entrance fees to the park will be $25 per vehicle, $15 per person, and $20 per motorcycle. Entrance fees are valid for entry for seven consecutive days from the date of purchase. Entrance fees are collected at the entrance station on the Dunes Drive.
- The White Sands Park Pass, which allows admission to White Sands only for one calendar year from date of purchase, was available for $30.00. On January 1, 2020, the price of the annual White Sands National Park Pass will be $45.
- The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass and Lifetime Senior Pass will remain $80.
Special Program Fees
- Lake Lucero Tours: $8.00 per person age 16 and older; $4.00 per person for 15 and under. Federal passes such as the America the Beautiful Annual, Senior, and Access passes apply only to the entrance fees and not to the special program fee.
Seasons / Hours
The Park is open daily, except Christmas Day via Dunes Drive.
White Sands National Park Visitor Center is located on U.S. Highway 70, 16 miles south of Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Summer Hours (Memorial Day through mid-August): 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Winter Hours: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
White Sands Visitor Center includes a museum, information desk, book store, gift shop and restrooms. The bookstore, which sells books, maps, posters, videotapes and audio tapes, is operated by the Southwest Parks and Monuments Association for the benefit of the Monument.
Interpretive Programs, Public Astronomy Programs and Teacher Workshops occur throughout the year. Here is a schedule. They include Full Moon Program, Friday Night Star Walk, Star Parties, and Lake Lucero Tours. For further information call 575-479-6124 or 575-679-2599.
Refreshments and snacks can be purchased at the Visitor Center gift shop from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. (Summer 8:00 AM to 6 PM.) Gasoline and other supplies are available in Alamogordo, 16 miles north.
All facilities in the Visitor Center and picnic areas are wheelchair accessible. The sand dunes themselves are accessible to wheelchairs to a limited degree.
P.O. Box 1086
New Mexico 88330
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