Why A Wonder: White Sands National Park is unique because it is made of gypsum crystals and is the largest gypsum dune field of its kind on Earth. The gypsum was deposited by being carried by the wind coming over the Sacramento, Guadalupe and Capitan Mountain ranges and dropping the gypsum. The park covers 145,762 acres in the Tularosa Basin. It was originally a National Monument and was recently designated as a National Park in 2019. While a National Monument it was used for filming numerous movies.
Where: The Wind Sands National Park is in the southern section of New Mexico, just west of Alamogordo. It is surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range.
When: The Park is great to visit at about any time. However, it is mostly visited from March through August, with the busiest time being March through July. November through February have the fewest visitors. It should be noted that the Missile Range will periodically close Route 70 between Las Cruces and Alamogordo when conducting missile tests. You should check on these closures. The park is open from 7 AM to 9 PM, Mountain Standard Time.
Photography: There really isn’t a bad time for photography. The dunes change formations often and there is a road that takes you 8 miles into the dunes. Shooting the Full Moon is a great adventure. To get the early sun rise, it might be better to be on a workshop and have a group leader coordinate with the Rangers for early entrance.
This photo is named Moon Shadows as this was taken at 5:30 AM and the Moon was setting. If you look closely, you can see Venus, Mars and Jupiter.
If you have a workshop leader that can coordinate with the Rangers, you'll get in early for the sunrise. This one was taken at 6:30 AM.
Learn more: Check out https://www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm
© Bonnie Davidson