White Sands National Monument
This place was beyond my imagination. Located in the southern part of New Mexico, pure white sand dunes go for miles and miles surrounded by dark, tall giant mountains.
The dunes are composed of gypsum crystals, which is rare! And this gypsum dune field is the largest of its kind on Earth. Layers of gypsum from over 200 million years ago eventually sifted, rose, fell and settled here to make up the beautiful White Sand Dunes National Monument.
Some nights, when the moon is new, you can see the stars reflect off of the sand. It’s THAT white.
You can come visit for the day OR you can back country camp here! When Brandy and I came through on our road trip, this was my first place that I ever back country camped by myself.
For those who do not know the term ‘back country camping’ it simply means that you are not near the road or in a developed area. Typically sites can only be reached by foot or boat, often several hours of travel from any development. At White Sands, the hike to the designated campsites is about 1 mile.
I figured that since I was camping in sand, I was going to be sleeping on soft sand and I didn’t bring my sleeping pad with me on the original trek out and had to hike it twice once I found out I would be sleeping on hardened sand rocks. And I learned that it always best to be safe (and comfortable) than sorry (and uncomfortable).
LEAVE NO TRACE! ALWAYS!
This means that you pack in and out EVERYTHING you bring with you. From the used toilet paper to the tiny food wrappers, take everything you brought into the wild out. If we all follow this rule and respect nature, there will be campsites like this for longer. And the doggos will look like this more often ♥
Note for traveling with dogs
these dunes are awesome!! The gypsum crystals do not get scorching hot like normal sand and dog paws will be happy here! Just pay attention that your pup doesn’t spend too much time on sand in general as the texture can tear up the pads.
Sunset and sunrise
This is a MUST DO while camping out in the dunes! You will be amazed at the beauty all around you.
Cloudcroft, New Mexico
This tiny town is about 30 minutes from the dunes and I highly recommend going here and hiking. It puts the dunes into a whole new perspective.
From the Cloud Highway Trail, about 25 miles away, you can see the White Sands clearly. And you can see just how big this section of beautiful rare white sand is!
I truly loved these sand dunes, and I can say that they were a favorite stop on our 14,000 mile road trip this summer.
Next post will be another road trip favorite! Any guesses?
onward and upward,