Hiker at White Sands NP / Shutterstock Image

Hiker at White Sands NP / Shutterstock Image

Know Before You Go, White Sands National Park


White Sand National Park driving tour: A scenic route through the park showcasing its stunning white sand dunes and natural beauty.

Start Planning! 

You’re about to go on an epic adventure at White Sands National Park! Here’s what you need to know before you go. 

  • The tour has four starting points:
    • Route 70 coming from Las Cruces, NM,
    • Route 54 near Tularosa, NM,
    • Route 82 comes from Cloudcroft, NM, and
    • Route 54 south of Alamogordo, NM.
  • The tour takes about 2-4 hours to complete. 
  • The park is open year-round from 7 am to sunset.
  • $25 entrance fee per vehicle, valid for 7 days.
  • The park is wedged between two military installations: Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range. There are times when Route 70 is blocked, or the park must close, as the military conducts tests. Check the Military Testing Park Closures page on the park’s website for any upcoming closures when planning a trip.

Budgeting & Hours of Operation

How much you spend truly depends on what you do along the tour route, but here’s a breakdown of some costs. 


  • Park entry costs $25 per vehicle. All stops on this tour are included in the entry fee. 

Hours of Operation

  • The White Sands Visitor Center is open 9 am-5 pm daily, September through May. 9 am-6 pm daily Memorial Day through Labor Day. 
  • The park is open from 7 a.m. - sunset all year round. Every stop on the tour, aside from the visitor center, is accessible during these times. 

Get Packing! 

A hiker exploring the stunning White Sands National Park, surrounded by its pristine white sands.Shutterstock Image

​​Here’s our packing list for this tour. It may seem a little long, but remember, what you bring depends on the activities you choose to do for the day. 

  • Cash and a credit card
  • Canteen/refillable water bottle
  • Water, at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day
  • Cooler
  • Sled
  • Hiking shoes and clothes
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • First Aid Kit
  • Bug spray
  • Salty snacks/fruits/nuts
  • Phone charger/mount

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Best Time to Visit 

 A couple admiring the sandy landscape at White Sands National Park, embracing the beauty of nature.Shutterstock Image

Spring and fall are the best times, with mild temperatures. Winter can be chilly (and windy!). Summer can be swelteringly hot. 

Safety Information

Exercise caution when attempting any hikes. Sand dunes are more exhausting to hike than typical trails. There is very little shade in the park, which is located in the Chihuahuan Desert. 

Bring plenty of water, and snacks, and save your phone’s battery in case you need to contact someone in an emergency.

Leave No Trace

A stunning desert landscape with vast stretches of white sand dunes under a clear blue sky.

While exploring, we encourage you to abide by the leave-no-trace principles. Embrace the outdoors responsibly with our commitment to preserving natural wonders. Respect wildlife habitats, minimize your footprint, and carry out memories, not waste. By following Leave No Trace principles, you contribute to the longevity and beauty of our planet's most stunning landscapes.

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Scenic view of White Sands National Monument, showcasing its pristine white sand dunes.

Ready to take the tour? Check out Shaka Guide's White Sands National Park Tour!

We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com

For more detailed information to help you plan, check out our White Sands National Park Itinerary .


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