Trail

Interdune Boardwalk, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Alamogordo, NM
Length: 0.40 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

ACTIVITIES: Hiking, sandboarding (sledding), camping

LENGTH OF HIKE: 0.4 mile

OUT AND BACK OR LOOP: Out and back

DIFFICULTY OF TERRAIN: Easy

ELEVATION GAIN: No

PARKING FEE/PASS: $3/person

TOILETS: Yes

CHANGING TABLE: No

NURSING BENCHES: Yes

DOGS ALLOWED: Yes

BIKES/HORSES/MOTORS ON TRAIL: No

CELL RECEPTION: Yes

DRINKING WATER AVAILABLE: No

POTENTIAL CHILD OR BABY HAZARDS: Dehydration from heat

GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Hats, sunscreen, water, sunglasses

White Sands is a place where you can sit and contemplate life or you can forget about it completely as you wander through the otherworldly white sand landscape. Vast sand mountains that seem to go on forever make White Sands National
Monument appear as if it is a place out of a dream. With 275 acres, this is the largest gypsum dune field in the world, which makes it truly worthy of being
on your national monument “bucket list.” You can spend hours exploring the dunes or just bring a bucket, shovel, and some toy dump trucks and let your toddler sit in the sand because what little kid doesn’t find happiness in a giant  neverlittle kid doesn’t find happiness in a giant neverending sandbox?

For bigger kids (and parents), there’s nothing more fun than rolling down sand
dunes. The Visitor Center rents out round plastic saucer-like sleds ($16 with $5 back when you return) that you can use to slide down the dunes. To get speed, you will need to climb the steeper hills, so this may not be as easy with a toddler in tow.

What kind of wildlife can you expect in this area? Look for lizards, beetles,  rattlesnakes, and roadrunners roaming through the area. Also, keep an eye out for crickets, mice, and moths that, like many of the critters and crawlers in this area, have turned lighter shades to mimic the white sands and hide from predators.

Wander along the boardwalk for the easy new-walker option, which will provide stability. Then head out onto the trail through the sand and consider hiking barefoot to feel the surprisingly cool gypsum sand under your feet. Remember, when walking in the sand, it takes double the exertion, so little walkers might get tired fast; be prepared to carry them. Bring a lot of extra water because it’s drier than you think. And don’t forget sunglasses, even for babies, as the sun reflects from the white sand up into your eyes.

Like much of New Mexico, it can be hot and exposed midsummer, so midday will be hot. Consider visiting in late September when the higher elevation (over 4,000 feet) and later season means a cooler climate. Mid- to late afternoon, the heat subsides and the sand actually gets quite cool to the touch. Another reason for a later hike: The sunsets are spectacular!

Want to try backcountry camping? You can do it here but will need to hike at least a mile to get to the permitted primitive camping. Overnighters are probably better suited for families with older kids or those experienced at camping with babies because there are no facilities or shelter in the open desert. But if you do choose to venture out, you will most likely be alone—a rarity at many national parks and monuments.

INSIDER’S TIP
Hit up the local Walmart on the way in and purchase a plastic sled saucer to slide the hills if you don’t want to rent one on site.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Excellent
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
No

Trail highlights

Boardwalk, Visitor Center, and Wildlife Viewing

WHY IT’S A FAVORITE
“My toddler loved climbing the sand dunes, which she called “mountains,” and was so proud she could climb them on her own. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you will see rain in the distance, since you can see so far out in the horizon, and you will see some magnificent rainbows with sunset. It’s spectacular!” —DAPHNE EARLEY

Trail Contributor

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Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.

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