White Sands National Monument Transportation

  • Entrance to White Sands, NM
    Entrance to White Sands, NM
    by atufft
  • Transportation
    by toonsarah
  • the trusty Camry did a fine job
    the trusty Camry did a fine job
    by richiecdisc

Best Rated Transportation in White Sands National Monument

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Driving at White Sands

    by toonsarah Written Jan 22, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    While it is clearly possible to visit the White Sands without a car (we ourselves saw several coaches bringing visitors) it is much better if you can to have your own transport. You will want to be able to explore at your own pace, spend more or less time in different places, and ideally stop in a few spots to experience the less-visited areas of dunes, away from the crowds.

    There are no particular requirements for driving here. The road is paved, although in places it can get quite covered by drifting sand. We saw a vehicle very like a snow plough moving slowly along the park road to push the sand that had drifted on to it off to one side. If you encounter drifts like these you will need to take a little bit of care of course, but no more than that.

    There are designated parking areas by trailheads, including a large one at the far end of the Dunes Drive by the Alkali Flats trail and several near the picnic shelters. There are also plenty of places where you can pull over if you wish to explore the dunes elsewhere – the only rule is that you don’t block other vehicles.

    +++Next tip!+++

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    driving on the moon

    by richiecdisc Updated May 24, 2009

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    White Sands National Monument is not an easy place to explore without a car. There are no park buses to whiz you from attraction to attraction and getting around on foot or bicycle would be only for the truly hearty and prepared. Things are fairly spread out but the big problem is the heat, lack of shade, and water. With a car not only can you get to trail heads, scenic lookouts, and picnic areas, but you can carry everything that you need to survive in this harsh climate. Driving the 16-mile round trip Dunes Drive is like being on the moon. You often wonder if it's safe to exit the vehicle without a breathing device. If you get out in the middle of the day, you might be right!

    As with any foray into wilderness, you have to be prepared. Even if you stay on the main road in White Sands Monument, you need to be ready for the harsh climate and lack of facilities once you get away from the Visitor Center. There is NO water and you should carry a gallon per person for an all day outing, half that for even a short visit. Salty snacks are important to keep your mineral levels up as you will noticeably sweat them out. In fact, you'll need to bring all your food in as there is nothing for sale once you get away from the Visitor Center.

    the trusty Camry did a fine job
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Budget Travel

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  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo

    Short Driving Information

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Jun 18, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    No public transportation is offered in White Sands. If you do not have a car available, car rental is available at Alamogordo and Las Cruces. While driving, be aware that the first four miles of Dunes Drive is a road safety corridor, which means it is against park rules to slow or stop in the area. Also due to missile testing on the adjacent White Sands Missile Range, it is occasionally necessary to close the Dunes Drive for periods of up to three hours for visitor safety. Yo u can find a link on the park web page listing current closures.

    If you do not have a car, you may also take a commercial bus tour along the 16-mile Dunes Drive. For more information about this, visit the park's web page and choose Commercial Bus Tours on the right side of the page.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

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  • DrewV's Profile Photo

    Dunes Drive

    by DrewV Written Jun 9, 2003

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Can you believe that some people just stop at the visitor center? It's true! They don't want to pay the $3 entrance fee to drive along the Dunes Drive, the only road into the monument.

    Well, fie on them! Don't make that mistake! Just driving along the spectacular road is worth the small fee, particularly since about halfway through, the asphalt ends and the road becomes hard-packed gypsum as it snakes through the dunes to the Heart of the Dunes picnic and playground area.

    Dunes Drive: a movable street

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  • annk's Profile Photo

    El Paso International Airport

    by annk Updated Feb 6, 2005

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    By plane:
    El Paso is the closest major city. We flew into El Paso from L.A. on Southwest Airlines.

    By car:
    El Paso - 85 miles south of White Sands
    Albuquerque - 210 miles north
    Alamagordo - 15 miles northwest
    Carlsbad Caverns - 160 miles

    We did a 3 park loop starting in White Sands, then visited Carlsbad Caverns, and our final park was Guadalupe N.P. before returning to El Paso.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Desert

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  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Don't Arrive on Foot or Bicycle

    by atufft Written Aug 8, 2014

    The ribbon highway that runs past the entrance ranger station is so narrow that there's virtually no shoulder even to walk along. What shoulder there is slopes steeply into thorny brush too difficult to walk along. Cyclists are likely to get brushed off the road into the ditch as car drive past at 55+ miles per hour. There are no bicycle or hiking trails that depart from the park entrance. The issue for drivers is that the first stop is several miles past the entrance gate, and there are no turn outs until that stop is reached.

    Entrance to White Sands, NM
    Related to:
    • Cycling
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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