Solo Backcountry Camping at White Sands

1.5 Miles Round Trip - Out-and-Back Trail

White Sands National Monument Backpacker's Trail - Search Nearby - Added by Sofia Davis-Kos

One of the most incredible camping spots I've ever stayed at and you can't beat the $8 overnight fee. Really feels like you're on the Moon.

I decided to take a solo trip down to White Sands National Park for some photography and campin'. On the way down I found the drive to be a little too intense alone so I stopped in Santa Fe and camped in a Wal-Mart parking lot. I woke up at 6am to finish the drive and arrive early enough to reserve campsite #5 (the farthest spot out and undoubtably the spot with the best view). Campsites are reserved in person at the info center when you arrive - they open around 9am I believe. I sat in the parking lot until 12:30pm and then headed in to set up camp. The spot is only 1.5 miles in but hiking the dunes with a full backpack in 90 degree weather with no shade was a little bit of a struggle. I definitely don't recommend heading in earlier than 3pm if you're planning to go May-Sept. I set up camp and realized the heat was unbearable so I hiked out to my car - leaving my stuff behind - to buy ice. When I came back in around 2:30pm my tent had blown away into the next campsite, so if you plan to set up and leave be sure to weight it down a bunch. By then the heat wasn't as harsh and I had cold water to help me through it. I sat and read, wrote a couple post cards, took a TON of photos and videos, and relaxed. When sunset came around I set up a timelapse and made some dinner with my jetboil. It was an incredible sight for sure. I went to bed shortly after (wasn't too cold during the night) and woke up for sunrise at 5:30am. It was a bit chilly in the morning but I had brought flannel pants and a long sleeved shirt. I set up my GoPro and tripod and got back in my sleeping back and boiled water for coffee. The sunrise was just as incredible as sunset. I spent a couple more hours just hangin' at the campsite, basking in the sun and silence, and then began the short journey back to the car. While packing my car I talked to a couple fellow campers about their experiences and told them about my own. There's something magical about this place, even alone I felt a strong sense of community between myself and my fellow campers. I walked out feeling refreshed and incredibly happy.

Main Gist:

- stop in Santa Fe if you're trying to do the whole drive alone

- reserve spot #5 for the best views - they can fill up within an hour of opening

- pack in lots of water

- don't head in until 3pm if you're camping in summer

- wake up for sunrise and sunset

- talk to EVERYONE - I swear I met some of the NICEST people I've ever met camping, in Carrizozo on the way back, and in Santa Fe! 

Check out my video edit here !


Easy Parking


1.5 Miles
Out-and-Back Trail

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