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7 Reasons To Drop Everything And Visit White Sands National Monument New Mexico

White Sands National Monument is one of many reasons that New Mexico is referred to as “The Land of Enchantment.”  People from all around the world travel to White Sands in droves throughout the year. It makes them feel as though they’re visiting another planet because of its insane white sandy dunes (actually gypsum crystals and not sand at all). The monument allows for many wonderful adventurous outings involving sledding, horseback riding, driving the dunes, bicycling, camping, and most of all dreaming.

1. Sledding

Sledding at White Sands National Monument - Photo by ap0013

White Sands National Monument sledding – Photo by ap0013

Sledding on the White Sands is one of the most popular activities. Being safe for kids and still insanely fun for adults, it is a perfect family getaway. White sand is actually more slippery than snow so therefore more exhilarating. Another superior aspect is that you won’t be soaked and wet and you won’t have to wear snow suits, and you can enjoy the nice weather. Also it’s year round!

For those looking for a fun time with that the whole family can take part in and enjoy; sledding at the White Sands National Monument can’t be beat!

2. Horseback Riding

Horseback riding in White Sands - Photo courtesy of nps.gov

Horseback riding in White Sands – Photo courtesy of nps.gov

Riding horses in the White Sands is an amazing way to visit the monument. Horses can take the adventurous travel to unique places throughout the dunes where most bipeds find it difficult. Also it’s a quiet and serene for of travel that can bring families and lovers close together for an extraordinary experience like no other.

3. Hiking

Hiking the Alkali Flat Trail at White Sands - Photo by nps.gov

Hiking the Alkali Flat Trail at White Sands – Photo by nps.gov

Many adventurers love to hike. We find it to be the superior way to experience natural environments. We get to take our time to explore and take in the scenery and experience the wildlife first hand.

White Sands National Monument offers 5 hiking trails which include, The Playa Trail, Interdune Boardwalk, Dune Life Nature Trail, Backcountry Camping Trail, and the Alkali Flat Trail.

4. Driving Dunes Drive

Dunes Drive in White Sands - Photo by nps.gov

Dunes Drive in White Sands – Photo by nps.gov

Dunes Drive is an 8 mile stretch of amazing roadway that takes drivers through a unique experience that they can only have in White Sands National Monument. It takes about 45 minutes to complete and during the drive you will find outdoor exhibits, hiking trails, picnic areas, vault toilets, and parking areas.

The first five miles of Dunes Drive are paved and the last three miles are a hard-packed gypsum sand road. The road is suitable for cars, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, and buses.

5. Bicycling

Exercise and enjoy the dunes on bicycles - Photo by nps.gov

Exercise and enjoy the dunes on bicycles – Photo by nps.gov

The only place in the world where bicyclists can ride on hard packed white gypsum is at White Sands. It’s truly a unique experience and a great way to exercise.

6. Camping

Backcountry camping at White Sands National Monument - Photo by nps.gov

Backcountry camping at White Sands National Monument – Photo by nps.gov

One of the best experiences you can have at White Sands is camping among they glistening gypsum crystals under an immense starry night sky. I suggest all adventurers for to do all the above and end your day camping under the amazing stars for an experience you’ll never forget!

7. Photography

Photography in White Sands National Monuement - Photo by Julio Bulnes Photo

Photography in White Sands National Monuement – Photo by Julio Bulnes Photo

How often do we get to travel to other planets? Not often at all I’d have to guess. White Sands is a nature photographers wonderland. Otherworldly scenery, wonderful natural elements, and amazing starry nights, make for one of the most amazing places on the planet for adventurous nature photographers.

John Newell

John Newell is a professional musician as well as student, who is currently working on his PhD in Rhetoric and Composition at The University of Washington. He is also a photographer and freelance writer.

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