They may look like mounds of snow, but the dunes in this park are made of a rare form of crystallized gypsum. Because gypsum dissolves easily in water, rain would normally wash it away and carry it to the sea. In this part of the Chihuahuan Desert, however, the land forms a basin, trapping the mineral; water evaporates, leaving the gypsum behind, and wind and weather erode it over time into an ocean of glittering sand. The entire dune field is a massive 275 square miles (by comparison, the second-largest gypsum dune field in the world, Cuatro Ciénegas in Mexico, is only 8 square miles). Hiking and sledding over this vast white expanse of powder is a singular, otherworldly experience.
More about White Sands
Read more about The Rise of the National Park Mascots
Blog Post The Rise of the National Park Mascots From Major Muskrat to Sunny Saguaro, human-sized mascots help national parks attract new visitors and convey important messages about wildlife and safety.
Read more about True Colors
Magazine Article True Colors What can the rapidly evolving white lizards of White Sands National Monument tell us about how animals can survive environmental change?
Read more about Rock On: 11 Lesser-Known Geologic Wonders in National Parks
Blog Post Rock On: 11 Lesser-Known Geologic Wonders in National Parks From mysterious gliding rocks in Death Valley to fossils of some of the most ancient life forms in Glacier, here are 11 lesser-known geologic wonders—including a few personal favorites from Bruce Heise of the Park Service’s Geologic Resources Inventory program.
Read more about One-of-a-Kind Destinations: 11 National Park Curiosities
Blog Post One-of-a-Kind Destinations: 11 National Park Curiosities National parks preserve wondrous landscapes, stories, and artifacts—as well as a whole host of weird and exceptional sights. From wacky-looking rocks to giant monuments of steel, here’s a short list of places to explore that are like nowhere else in the world.
They are some of the most beautiful places in the world! — John sullivan
Read more about 10 Hidden Gems in the National Park System
Blog Post 10 Hidden Gems in the National Park System Want to explore a few remarkable places off the beaten path? These 10 NPCA picks offer great ways to escape the crowds while enjoying unique, underappreciated natural and cultural treasures around the country.