White Sands Adventures in the Land of Enchantment

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May 16, 2017

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I've spent a good part of my 30 years on this earth traveling and documenting adventures through a camera lens. I recently had the opportunity to explore the White Sands National Monument outside of Alamogordo, NM and it was one of the most otherworldly places I've seen! 

Last stop on paved roads.

We only had part of a day to explore, but I'd recommend planning to spend a few days. White Sands is a vast desert composed of white sand dunes expanding for over 250 miles until colliding with an impressive range of mountains rising from the plains. You can drive an unpaved road through most of the area of the dunes, but the beauty is when you get out of the car, strap on the sandals and go for a hike.

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The Dunes are the largest of their kind in the world and are comprised of gypsum stone, which gives them their white color. The sand is soft and laced with a diverse spread of desert plants and animal life. The deeper you go, however, the beauty can swallow you as you venture from the crowds and noise into the expanse of large, white dunes surrounded by a blue mountain skyline. If you have a day, park your car, grab some supplies and a camera and just head out. As I mentioned, there are people near the roads in RV's, cooking hot dogs and even sledding down the larger dunes (PRO TIP: You can rent plastic saucers at the ranger's office. Make sure to bring some type of wax for the bottom of the saucer to really make it fly!). 

If you are a photographer, this place is a dream! Obviously, I'd recommend morning and evening light, but there are often bluebird skies and the the location is pretty forgiving. Everywhere you look is a great landscape opportunity but if you have a model, you are surrounded by a natural reflectors and beautiful contrasts. There is no car or RV camping at the dunes, but there is tent camping by permit only. The permit can be obtained at the ranger's office for around $3.00 and you have to hike at least a mile in to find the campsites but it's well worth your time! The stars are unreal and it's incredibly quiet and peaceful. 

Sunset over the mountains. 

The White Sands National Monument is somewhat of a hidden gem and you won't regret making the trip. I've been to some of the most beautiful places on the planet and this is at the top of my list! So get out and explore!

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.