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.