White Sands National Monument – The Largest Gypsum Sand Dunes

White Sands National Monument and Gypsum Dunes

White Sands National Monument houses the largest white gypsum sand dunes in the world. The massive wave-like dunes have engulfed 275 square miles of desert. Since gypsum dissolves upon contact with water, it’s extremely rare to find it as sand. But, the isolation and weather patterns of the Tularosa Basin have allowed it to exist in sand-form, thus creating a truly unique experience for hiking, sledding, and enjoying this awe-inspiring place.

One thing to note is that the sand dunes lie in between missile ranges and test sites, so you should check to ensure there isn’t a test before trekking out to them. The second time we visited, my parents were caught in a missile test and had to hang at the dunes until it was over. We also were caught in a pretty wild windstorm in the dunes, which was an interesting experience…

When visiting, you can camp near Organ Needles and then take day trips to the monument. Alternatively, you could book a place in Las Cruces.

White Sands National Monument TravelSages
A completely not-staged photo on the dunes.
White Sands National Monument TravelSages
Hiking the dunes in a sandstorm.
White Sands National Monument TravelSages
Tramper and Vamper hanging in the dunes during a sandstorm.

About the author

Lauren is a 'digital nomad' (for lack of a less obnoxious term) who works, lives, and travels out of her truck camper with her partner, Patrick, and dog, Odin, the one-eyed Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. She started TravelSages in the summer of 2013, and has since founded a digital marketing consultancy, called LyteYear, and a sustainability brand, called RePrint. Before moving into her tiny mobile home, Lauren lived in Chicago for 6 years, pursued two graduate degrees, studied abroad at Oxford, worked for a summer in Hong Kong, and traveled to various countries in between. She has a mildly unhealthy love of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Netflix, and breweries with good New England IPAs.

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