Hiking Alkali Flat Trail – White Sands NP, New Mexico

The Alkali Flat Trail in White Sands National Park in southern New Mexico is 5-mile loop hike through the Park’s gypsum dunes. This hike is a good place to get away from the crowds. Although the trailhead parking lot is huge and the area popular for sledding and watching the sunset, once we got past the first quarter mile, we saw only 2 or 3 other people.

We completed this unique hike in early May, on a day when the weather was calm and clear and high temperatures were in the low 70’s. Even with those ideal conditions, waiting until 4:30pm to begin the hike to avoid the intense mid-day sun was a good choice. No matter when you hike, don’t skimp on the water! There’s no water available in the Park beyond the Visitor’s Center, so be sure to stock up in advance. There is also no shade at all on the trail. The Park’s website actually goes so far as to recommend that you don’t start the hike if the temperature is above 85 degrees.

The “trail” itself is marked with posts, since the sands are constantly shifting. Although it was well-marked and easy to follow in good weather, we were warned that when the wind kicks up, which is not uncommon, the route can quickly get difficult to follow. The route rolls through the dune field with many short climbs and descents, definitely not flat, but no huge climbs. At it’s farthest point the trail descends out of the dune field onto the Alkali Flat. During the last ice age, this area was a 1,600 square-mile lake, but today is a pretty desolate flat, open field of gypsum sand. Most of the Flat falls inside the adjacent White Sands Missile Range. At this point, a sign helpfully lets you know that you shouldn’t be going any farther and that you should also refrain from picking up any strange objects you might encounter. From here, the trail heads back into the dunes and toward the parking lot.

#NewMexico #WhiteSands #NewMexicoHikes #NationalParks

Learning to Travel, is a travel video & social media company formed by Joyce & Daryle Dickens to help others identify and realize their dreams of “traveling more”. After years of “traveling more” talk with too little action, we finally went all-in on a life-changing 14-month journey to 23 countries and 23 US states. Since then, we’ve heard far too many people say “I wish I could do that” which has made us realize that most people need a little push to believe their travel dreams are possible and a little guidance to turn those dreams into reality. That inspiration and guidance is what https://LearningToTravel.com is all about.

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