The White Sands National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located about 26 kilometres southwest of Alamogordo in western Otero County and northeastern Doña Ana County in the state of New Mexico, at an elevation of 1,291 metres. The area is in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin and comprises the southern part of a 710 km2 field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.
The monument is open daily, except Christmas Day. Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day): Visitor Center 09:00am-7:00pm, Dunes Drive 07:00am-9:00pm. Winter hours: Visitor Center 08:00am-5:00pm, Dunes Drive 07:00am-sunset.
Entrance fees are $3 per person, valid for seven days. Children 15 and under are free. An annual pass may be purchased for $20 which allows free park entrance for one year, or the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass may be purchased for $80, allowing free entrance to all national park areas for one year.
A car is pretty much the only way to reach the monument; no public transportation services White Sands. The visitor center is on US Highway 70/82, 26 kilometres southwest of Alamogordo and 83 kilometres east of Las Cruces.
An eight-mile scenic drive leads from the Visitor Center into the heart of the dunes. Wayside exhibits at pullouts along the drive provide information about the natural history of the park. Driving on the dunes is not allowed.
Light snacks and beverages are available in the visitor center gift shop, but there are no restaurants in the park. The nearby town of Alamogordo, located about 25 kilometres east of the park, has several restaurants available.
Water is available outside of the visitor center. Alcohol is prohibited within the park at certain times of the year; check at the Visitor Center for specific restrictions.
There is no lodging within the monument, but the town of Alamogordo has several hotels.
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