On Day 6 of our trip we explored White Sands National Park. White Sands is part of the National Park Service and is located an hour Northeast of Las Cruces, NM. Known as the largest natural deposit of gypsum in the world, White Sands lies in the Tularosa Basis near Lake Lucero lake bed.
Once we entered the park, we stopped in the visitor center which doubles as the nature center and bought our National Parks Passport and got our White Sands stamp so we could begin keeping track of all the awesome public lands we are visiting.
Dunes Drive is the only road that leads to the park and leads you to all the trails and attractions within the park. We stopped at Interdune Boardwalk, which is a short 2000 ft walk with informational boards on the various plants and animals that can survive in this unusual ecosystem.
Alkali Flat Trail
The Alkali Flat Trail is a 5 mile long trail and also the longest trail within the park. In true fashion, Alan quickly decided that he would hike the entire trail barefoot! It was still a chilly morning and the sand was so cold so I hiked in flip flops until the day began to warm up. Most visitors stayed close to the trail head so as we hiked further in, it was quiet, secluded and seemed like we were the only ones there.
The Alkali Flats trail offers amazing views of the gypsum dunes. When we were in middle of the tallest dunes, we felt like we were on a different planet. At its farthest point, the dunes disappear and you are standing at the edge of Alkali Flats and have a great view of the San Andres Mountains.
White Sands is truly like no place else on earth. This is a stop nobody should pass up!
For more photos of our visit to White Sands National Park, click this link to our photo blog.