1/28/18: On the way from Roswell to Sierra Vista, we passed White Sands National Monument. We wanted to stop and visit the park, but on that day the US government was shut down and the park was closed. Thanks, Washington! When we left Sierra Vista, we debated going up through Santa Fe into Colorado, but since we weren’t able to see White Sands (Thanks again, Washington!), we decided to head in that direction instead.
White Sands National Monument is in southern New Mexico and is known for it’s sand dunes made from rare, pure white gypsum. Is such a huge area that it can be seen from space! We arrived at the visitor’s center early in the afternoon. There was a gift shop that sold souvenirs as well as “sand sleds” to go sledding down the dunes within the park. We opted not to purchase a sled, but we did pick up a few mementos of our visit.
After the visitor’s center, we drove into the park itself. Only a small fraction of the overall park is open to visitors, but even that small section allows you to drive in 8 miles. All along the way were pure white sand dunes that got larger and larger the further we progressed along the road. There were lots of pull-offs along the way where you can get out and hike through or climb on the dunes. At almost every stopping place people were climbing, taking pictures, and sledding down the dunes. A couple miles in was the Intradune Boardwalk, a wooden walkway that extended about a mile into the dunes. Along the boardwalk were placards describing the various flora and fauna that can be found in the park.
We spent a couple hours at the park, climbing the dunes, taking pictures, and emptying our shoes. We really had a good time just taking in the unusual beauty of the dunes. It’s a spectacular place, and we’re glad we made the decision to stop there.