Here’s a trip idea for RV travelers who love the wide open spaces of New Mexico. White Sands National Monument, stretching out for more than two hundred fifty square miles along I-70 just west of Alamogordo, is an extraordinary natural attraction. White gypsum sand dunes rule the landscape, revealing an amazing variety of desert plants and animals to those willing to get a little closer. And all around the Monument are equally fascinating attractions to entertain and educate.
Discovering the Wonders of White Sands
There are so many ways to explore White Sands, one for every type of motorhome traveler. Some visitors love to hike the fragile dunes, hoping to discover the secrets of life in the desert. Others prefer to drive into the heart of the monument, stopping along the way to photograph the majestic views available year-round. Or perhaps you hope to learn more about the dunes from park rangers and fascinating multimedia exhibits. There’s an experience that will suit your style waiting for you at White Sands.
To experience the awesome expanses of White Sands National Monument from your RV, take the sixteen-mile Dunes Drive. This paved road leads into the heart of the dunes as well as near the trailheads of several hiking trails. Start at the park’s visitor center just off I-70 and follow the road to Alkali Flat before looping back. You’ll want to plan time for stopping to learn more about the dunes at roadside exhibits and the photo opportunities are endless.
If you’re hoping to hit the trails while at White Sands, there are routes for every level hiker inside the Monument. Hikers up to a seven-mile jaunt across an ancient dry lakebed will find the Alkali Flat Trail fascinating. The Interdune Boardwalk, on the other hand, is a fully-accessible four-plus mile trail over the dunes with places to learn along the way. Several other trails wind their way through the park, so pick one that suits your style of hiking.
One more way to immerse yourself in the mystery of this massive collection of dunes is through a ranger-led hike. These interpretive programs might take you into the desert by moonlight, searching for rare plants in an ancient lakebed or in search of the perfect photo of the sun setting over the dunes.
Attractions near White Sands National Monument
Just east of Alamogordo in the Capitan Mountains, Lincoln National Forest offers New Mexico RV camping fans a wealth of outdoor activities. Scenic mountain gems like the Sitting Bull Falls recreation area, the National Recreation Rim Trail that begins in the alpine village of Cloudcroft and Bluff Springs will delight visitors willing to take a hike.
Adjacent to the National Forest, Oliver Lee Memorial State Park sits against the Sacramento Mountain Range south of Alamogordo. Plan to camp in the RV campground so that you can spend time getting to know high desert life in Dog Canyon. The variety of plant life, the historic exhibits at the Lee Ranch Headquarters and the spectacular sunsets will make this park one of your RV camping favorites.
Here’s one more tip for expanding your understanding of the White Sands area on your RV road trip, make a side trip to the White Sands Missile Range Museum, on the grounds of the 2.2 million acre missile range. Enter at the Las Cruces gate of WSMR to reach the museum. You’ll find a missile park with examples of the missiles tested at White Sands, plus educational exhibits that tell the story of this legendary missile testing installation.
White Sands National Monument is a place nature lovers won’t tire of visiting. There’s so much to see and do at White Sands!