The Alkali Flat Trail in White Sands National Park was different than any hiking trail I’ve ever done before. It’s a 5 mile loop trail through the seemingly neverending sand dunes. It’s also unusual as most hikers are carrying plastic sleds as well.
The trail follows from one marker to another where you can walk up a sand dune and then sled down the other side. Eventually you get the the far end where you can see the Alkali flights along with the adjacent White Sands Missile Range in the distance.
This hike is really unusual but also amazing with mountains off in the distance surrounding you as you navigate the sand dunes. This is the definite White Sands hike you must do when visiting our newest National Park.
These pictures were all taken just after waking up from sleeping in the backcountry of White Sands National Monument. The morning light on the sand dunes is beautiful and something I could stare at every morning! From even the small ripples created by the wind to the large mountains in the distance, every bit of this area is stunning!
Thanks! – Josh
The Dune Life Nature Trail is located in White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico along the Dunes Drive road. It is one of the first trails you will pass along the road. There are signs along the trail with an informative cartoon fox that talks about how the desert comes alive at night and the various animals and plants living in this environment. These signs are geared towards kids but are still a useful tool for adults to learn about their surroundings.
The hike is a short mile loop through the desert. It begins with a steep climb up a sand dune with loose footing and then takes you through a small area where the trail climbs up and down some dunes, passes some cool dead trees that would make Thomas Cole drool, and through a very grassy area between two dunes. Then the trail walks along the top of a sand dune before returning to the steep sandy hill and back to the parking lot!
This was the first trail I hiked in White Sands and most of what I remember is how beautiful it was! The sand really is white as snow and the dunes roll gracefully into the distance before being interrupted by the high rocky peaks at the other end of the dune field. White Sands is a place that has to be visited and experienced to really understand the beauty there! Pictures just don’t do it justice. I encourage everyone to make the trip down to White Sands National Monument and to spend a day dune sledding, hiking, and taking in the beauty of creation! Just make sure you drink plenty of water because even if it’s a good temp, the sand reflects the sun so it feels like there are two suns hitting you and with no shade you can get dehydrated easily and quickly! So be careful and stay hydrated but have fun!
Thanks! – Josh