White Sands National Park, New Mexico (with Map & Photos)

White Sands National Park New Mexico

White Sands National Park
in New Mexico in the southwestern United States is a very unusual place. It is located near the town of Alamogordo, which has its own sad history. This is a place that has changed the entire history of mankind, although no one knows about it.

White Sands National Park (White Sands)

White Sands National Park is the most amazing park in the southern United States in the Chihuahua Desert with gypsum dust sand dunes. There is so much dazzling white sand on its territory that walking there without sunglasses is as difficult as in the Maldives . We stopped at the White Sands National Park to see for ourselves its beauty and to check why it is so interesting for tourists and how difficult it is to hike there. To do this, we went for a walk among the sand dunes.

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White Sands National Park New Mexico

Alamogordo, where the old world has changed

On the way to White Sands National Park, we drove through the city of Alamogordo, where the atomic bomb was developed. Few people, having heard the name of the city, will say exactly what happened here in 1945. But if it were not for the laboratories of Los Alamos and the Alamogordo test site, then perhaps there would never have been Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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White Sands National Park New Mexico

I want to believe it. But reason dictates that the atomic bomb should have been made at Los Alamos and detonated at the Alamogordo test site in order to remake the old world. Destroy it and start building a new one.

The explosion took place in a remote and sparsely populated area in New Mexico, in the White Sands Desert, where the White Sands National Park is today. Tests are carried out there to this day. True, now these are just various military aircraft and other military equipment.

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White Sands National Park New Mexico

However, on the days when the tests are underway, they write on the official website of the park that it is closed (more precisely, the main paths to the sands are closed, but why would you come to the desert and not see it?). Highway 70, which runs past the park, from Alamogordo to Las Cruces is also blocked. This is written on the road signs: when the lamps are on (like at a railway crossing), the highway is closed, and no one is allowed into White Sands National Park.

White Sands National Park, first encounter

In principle, you can stop at any permitted place in the park. The fact is that almost immediately after the entrance booth and until the moment when the sand completely fills up the asphalt, you find yourself in a war zone and for your safety it is strictly forbidden to stop there. This is what the road sign says. But after - please. That is, you can park anywhere near the dunes and view them at your own discretion and at your own risk. As photographers do when they want to find fresh spots for their masterpieces.

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White Sands National Park New Mexico

The military occupies most of the desert, because they are the owners here to this day, and a small part of it is given over to the national park. And along the road at first you even see water bodies. But when you drive further into the White Sands National Park, a half-steppe appears, and the dunes on the horizon.

Then the plants, which found the joy of life in this place, slowly climb onto the sands, but after a few meters the sands absorb everything, including the road. Usually there snow lies on the roadside, it is removed by cars, and it dumps into the snowdrifts. And the road is slippery. But the hot sun is shining through the window. You are hot, and before your eyes there is snow and ice. Everything, reality has mixed up, the brain refuses to work as before. It's time to get out of the car, go to the snow-sand dunes and get lost.

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White Sands National Park New Mexico

White Sands Park Visitor Center

The White Sands National Park Visitor Center is open from 9 am to 5 pm. As always, here you can find all kinds of information and see maps with a description of the park. The map reports that there are several trails here. One of them - Walk along the dunes (Interdune boardwalk) - was closed on the day of our arrival.

Dune Life Nature Trail

Another trail,  Life in the Dunes, is a short walk over the sands of White Sands National Park on a wooden platform. You can admire the sands and plants sticking out of them, as well as read about them and the animals living in the desert.

White Sands National Park Map