"Snow in the desert?" Top 5 Page for this destination White Sands National Monument by toonsarah
White Sands National Monument Travel Guide: 116 reviews and 288 photos
Imagine a desert with dunes that stretch to the horizon, dotted with a few hardy plants and baking under a hot sun. Now imagine that the sand in this desert is not yellow, but as white as snow, and you will have some idea of what it is like here.
This place is truly a photographer’s paradise – but also a photographer’s great challenge. The best photos are to be had around dawn and dusk, but unless you want to camp (and back-country camping at that) this is not an option, as there is no other accommodation in the park. If like us you are staying instead in the nearest town, Alamogordo, you will want to make an early start to be here when the gates open at 7.00. At that time, especially by October when we visited, the sun is still low enough to cast interesting shadows among the dunes, and not so bright that it washes everything out in the harsh white glare.
Despite the name, this is not sand! The white crystals are in fact gypsum, and in this part of New Mexico the dunes cover 275 square miles of desert creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. Not all of this though is part of the National Monument, as much of it is off-limits on the White Sands Missile Range – these wide open spaces are ideal for such activities it seems. But thankfully the National Monument does preserve a large portion of the dunefield and make it accessible for us all to enjoy.
I have not captioned any of my photos on the White Sands as I find the VT label strip intrusive and I think the subject matter is evident enough from my tips. But if you’re interested to know where a particular shot was taken do mail me and I’ll tell you what I can.
Please start your visit to the White Sands with the first of my things to do tips.
- In a nutshell:Totally other-worldly - a must-see in New Mexico!
The Interdune Boardwalk is an easy elevated trail of about 600 metres (there and back). It leads through a fragile... more travel advice
This place is truly a photographer’s paradise – but also a photographer’s great challenge. The best photos are to be... more travel advice
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