White Sands National Park

White Sands National Park by Andriy Blokhin via Shutterstock.

White Sands National Park, in New Mexico, features vast dunes of gypsum crystals. This surreal, wave-like desert landscape offers unique sand sledding and moonlit hikes.

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Fast Facts

State(s): New Mexico
Area: 145,762 acres (589.88 sq km) – 38th largest national park of 63
Highest Elevation: NE30 military facility – 4,116 ft (1,254.56 m)
Lowest Elevation: Lake Lucero – 3,887 ft (1184.76 m)
Date Established: January 18, 1933 (as national monument); December 20, 2019 (as national park)
Annual Visitors: 705,127 visitors in 2022
Nearest Town: Alamogordo, New Mexico

Recommended Day Hikes

Park Tracker considers a “day hike” to be a hike under 10 miles. Below we provide our top five recommendations inside the park, along with AllTrails links to the hikes.

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🧗🏻‍♂️ Popular Activities in White Sands National Park

White Sands is about more than just hiking. See below for some of the best non-hiking activities to do in White Sands National Park.

  1. Sand sledding and boarding down the dunes
  2. Joining ranger-led sunset strolls and full moon hikes
  3. Photography of the shifting gypsum sand dunes
  4. Wildlife viewing, especially at dawn and dusk
  5. Visiting the park’s visitor center for interactive exhibits

🛎️ Where to Stay Near White Sands National Park

While there are ample camping and vacation rental options near most US national parks, I personally highly prefer staying at Hilton-branded properties when traveling to national parks. As such, below are the five closest Hilton properties to White Sands National Park.

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🍔 What to Eat Near White Sands National Park

After hiking and exploring White Sands National Park, odds are high you’re going to be hungry. Here are five of the best restaurant options within and near the park.

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