In honor of our recently released Spirit of the Dunes color palette, we’re sharing an itinerary for the White Sands National Monument. Like many of our owners, we have fond memories of this shining New Mexican desert. It contains the world’s largest gypsum dune fields—and is perhaps one of the country’s most underrated public lands. Not only is it magical to see, but the fact it exists is nothing short of miraculous. Gypsum is easily washed away by rain, but the Monument’s unique topography and dry climate keep the white waves of sand pristine.
Start at the visitor center (a pueblo-adobe structure built in the 1930s) where you can explore the native plant garden and discover the interactive museum. Be sure to fill up your water while you’re here, because there’s none available out in the dunes. From the center, enjoy a scenic drive to the heart of the dunes. If you can, try to be at the dunes for a sunset and a sunrise: the interplay between color and land is different, but both dawn and dusk are phenomenal. Insta-worthy? We think so.
Then, stop for breakfast (or lunch!) in your Bowlus Road Chief. The galley is complete with dual burners, stainless steel countertops, a microwave that is operational even when off grid and an incredibly efficient 12V fridge that allows you to extend your off grid time. It’s always a good time for a picnic when you have a Road Chief. When you’re ready for an adventure, go sand tubing. Waxed plastic snow saucers work well and can be purchased at the visitor center.
There are many hikes among the dunes, including some ranger-led programs through which you can learn about the remarkable ecosystem of White Sands. Once a month, a ranger will lead a tour through Lake Lucero. The “birthplace” of the dunes, the lake bed is actually a huge swath of selenite crystals, which play a critical role in creating the shining gypsum sand. You can camp just outside the park at Lake Holloman. Alternatively, Oliver Lee Memorial State Park is a thirty-minute drive and features scenic views, hiking and historical exhibits.
Bowlus Road Chief
P.S., The Road Chief featured in the photo is vintage. Built nearly 85 years ago, she’s still in great shape!