Camp at White Sands National Monument

Rate this Adventure New Mexico White Sands National Monument Backpacker's Trail

Added by

Camping under the stars with majestic wave-like dunes of gypsum creating contrasts and leading lines like no where else in the world.

Spend a night under the stars in one of the more beautiful places to take it all in. White Sands National Monument offers camping to “backpackers” who have the ability to hike out into the dunes to set up camp for an overnight adventure. The closest site will be .75 miles away while the farthest site is 1.1 miles away.

There are ten “camping sites” available on a first come first serve basis. They cannot do advanced reservations because of the possibility of the park closing due to missile tests at the adjacent military base. Permits are available until one hour before sunset and to obtain a permit you simply need to go to the front desk in the ranger station and ask!

Camping gives you the best way to photograph the dunes as well. Depending on the time of year you cannot catch the entire sunrise or sunset because of the park hours; if you camp you no longer have to worry about getting back to the gate before the ranger locks you in the for night. (They do not lock you in but they will call search and rescue if you are not back in time.)

Tips:
  • There is no water or toilet facility when you hike out onto the dunes, so make sure you fill up at the ranger station before you head out.
  • Fires are not permitted on the dunes, but self contained camping stoves are!
  • You need to follow the red markers that lead out deep into the dunes. Keep in mind that there are multiple backpacker trails and you need to follow the symbol on the trailhead you started at.

Pack List

  • Tent, warm sleeping bag (you are in a desert and temperatures drop drastically at night), and camping gear
  • DSLR with a 24-70mm lens and a 70-200mm lens
  • Warm cloths (thermals) if going during winter months
  • Enough water for 24 hours incase you get lost
  • Food
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
Read More

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Lucas Pols

Photographer with a passion for culture, travel, and exposing those who do good in the world LucasJPolsPhotography.com

Activities:

Camping, Photography, Hiking, Fitness

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

1.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

40 Feet

Features:

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Picnic Area
Scenic

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

More Adventures Nearby

Climb Mount Wheeler

New Mexico / Mount Wheeler Trailhead

Mount Wheeler is the highest peak in New Mexico at 13,161 feet and is considered the 8th highest state peak. The hike begins just over 10,000 feet near the Bavarian Restaurant.

Shalee Blackmer
13 Saves

Dip into Spence Hot Springs

New Mexico / Spence Hot Springs

Exit Interstate 550 and head North on Highway 4 heading towards Jemez Springs. The Spence Hot Springs Parking Lot and Trailhead is about 25 miles North off Highway 4.

Nick Garcia
42 Saves

Hike to Clear Creek in Cimarron Canyon State Park

New Mexico / Clear Creek Trailhead

Head North from Eagle Nest towards Cimarron, and about 7 miles (or less) on your right hand, you will find two big signs with a parking area on both sides of the road.