During my recent trip to New Mexico, I visited a place that has been on my list for a long time, White Sands National Monument in Southern New Mexico. It is situated about 50 miles from the Mexico border near a missile testing area, and during tests, most roads and the National Monument itself are closed, so before going there it is a good idea to check to make sure everything is open. The closest town is Almagordo, which is very nice and has a lot of hotels to choose from.
When you arrive at the Monument, you’ll see the beautiful building where the visitor center and a gift store are. As you drive on the main road after passing the entrance booth things get progressively interesting and after three miles, on the left there is a small road that leads to the parking lot of the Dune Life Nature Trail, which is a very good introduction to the whole ecosystem. Continuing on the main road, the dunes get increasingly taller until you reach the en of it, where you can park hike for hours. It is quite easy to park anywhere along the main road but at the very end is where the tallest dunes are. I was there in Winter and didn’t have to worry too much about bringing water with me but in any other season it is important to have water with you at all times.
I found that the most beautiful light here happens when the Sun in close to the horizon not only because the fascinating shapes, lines and shadows but also because of the unique colors usually present during those parts of the day in combination with the very white sand, characteristic of this magnificent desert.