The White Sands National Monument is another one of those adventures that you need to do with your dog! The white sand is actually crystallized gypsum created when water in the area evaporates. The area is surrounded mostly by mountain ranges. Combine that with wind and you get some really neat white dunes for a desert-like landscape.
Entrance fees to the park are $5 for adults over 15 years old. Call ahead to (575) 479-6124 ext. 236 or check online to make sure the park is open as they close periodically when there is testing done by the White Sands Missile Range nearby. Dogs must be on a 6 foot leash. You must pick up after your dog. The best time to go is on a clear, dry day outside of Monsoon season in early July through mid-October. The park does offer events and programs for visitors. Check out the calendar for more information.
Go early in the day or late in the day to avoid some of the heat as it’s better for your dog. Don’t forget to catch a magnificent sunrise and sunset view.
It is recommended to stay on the five trails that clearly marked. You may find it hard to backtrack your steps if you wander off. Most trails are very short. The one we would recommend for dogs is the 1.5 hour, 2 mile round-trip Backcountry Camping Trail because you’ll really get to the dunes. You will have to climb on some steep dunes so make sure you and your dog are fit enough to do so. Bring a sled with you to go down the dunes as your reward for grudging the uphill climb. The Playa Trail is also great if you want a short easy trail. Mind other people on the trails, which include hikers and runners.
Backcountry camping is available with a permit and available at the visitor center. Camping here probably isn’t best if you are a beginner. The park provides some tips so that campers are prepared. Remember to bring a lot of water with you.
Don’t want to get out of your air-conditioned car? Cars are allowed on the dunes on Dunes Drive which heads out from the visitor center. Take a break and get out of your car for awhile and go sledding! Biking is also allowed on Dunes Drive.
Neat Tidbits: The White Sands National Monument is the world’s largest gypsum dunefield!
Take a photo of you dog at the White Sands National Monument!
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Location: Alamogordo, NM | Otero County | Chihuahuan Desert | New Mexico
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Camping, Sledding, Biking, Sightseeing