White Sands National Park, New Mexico, USA

Postcard: White Sands National Park, New Mexico, USA

The waving dunes of white stretch out before your feet is an experience that can barely be captured into words. The stark beauty and sharp relief of the dunes will take your breath away. 

  • White Sands National Park is an American national park located in the state of New Mexico and completely surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range.
  • The park covers 589,9 km2 in the Tularosa Basin, including the southern 41 % of a 710 km2 field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals.
  • This gypsum dunefield is the largest of its kind on Earth, with a depth of about 9.1 m, dunes as tall as 18 m and about 4.1 billion tons of gypsum sand.
  • Here, great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed the desert and preserve a piece of New Mexico’s unique geology. Typically, gypsum is rarely found as sand because it dissolves in contact with water. But, the isolation and weather patterns of the Tularosa Basin creates a truly unique experience.
  • White Sands National Park preserves not only major portion of this unique dune field, but also the plants and animals that have successfully adapted to this constantly changing environment.
  • White Sands was established as a national monument in 1933 and re-desginated as a national park in 2019.
  • Today, its location between several military bases means the monument is sometimes closed due to missile tests.
  • It is also a relatively young natural feature relative to geologic time. As recently as 12.000 years ago, when the area was already inhabited by humans, it was dominated by lakes, rivers and grasslands. However, as the climate warmed, the lakes dried up, leading to today’s arid landscape.
  • The best time to visit is usually late summer to the end of winter when temperatures are mild and there are fewer crowds. Spring and early summer are also good options, but sandstorms are a possibility then. 
  • Visit White Sands National Park during sunrise or sunset, when the dazzlingly white sea of sand is at its most magical.
Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: