While staying in Las Cruces, NM at the end of February, 2020 we took a day trip to White Sands National Park and Alamogordo. This is the largest gypsum dune field in the world and is so large it can actually be seen from space. White Sands has been a National Monument since 1933 and in January, 2020 became the 62nd National Park. So, of course, I had to get a t-shirt with the new White Sands National Park on it! The visitor center sign out front will be changing soon!
White Sands is truly magical sight to see with endless rolling white dunes with a backdrop of the San Andres Mountains to the west. This is our second visit in 2 years and February was a better time to visit because of smaller crowds and the weather was sunny but cool which allowed us to hike further into the rolling dunes. Also, the sand was so cold to the touch and to walk on! We read that the dunes move 15 feet per year with the winds off the mountains blowing the gypsum. A couple of the pictures below show the dunes trying to take over the road that the park rangers have to plow daily to keep it passable and in a few areas it was very narrow for two cars to pass.
After visiting White Sands we drove into Alamogordo. Located here is Holloman Air Force Base and is the site of the testing range where the first atomic bomb was exploded in 1945. Also, this is part of the Chihuahuan Desert, sits at 4336′ elevation and is one of the larger cities in NM. It really is a barren desert city with the beautiful Sacramento Mountains bordering on the east, and so different from the White Sands only 20 miles away. After eating lunch we had to go the the famous McGinn’s PistachioLand and see the World’s Largest Pistachio! After spending lots of time tasting ALL the different flavored pistachios inside the store we could not agree on a favorite so we had to buy 3 different packages; dark chocolate, red chili, and sriracha honey roasted. YUM!
Another fun and memorable day. Thanks for visiting our site and enjoy the pictures!