White Sands National Park Camping & Oryx Spotting
White Sands National Park camping offers the opportunity to pitch a tent in a vast, wonderful playground of brilliant white gypsum dunes. It is also recently became America’s 62nd National Park on December 19, 2019!
The campground features 10 “walk-to” (primitive) campsites set among the glistening gypsum dunes and beneath spectacular starry nights. All campsites are first-come, first-serve. Permits are required and can be obtained at the Visitor Center.
The hike to the campground is about a mile. There are no facilities and you must pack everything in and out. Each campsite is designated by either a red or white stake marker depending on the area.
White Sands National Park – 5 “Neat-to-Know” Facts:
- The sand isn’t composed of silica, like most inland sand, but rather its almost pure gypsum. Gypsum is different from most other rocks because its soluble, which means it will dissolve in water.
- The “sand” is not actually white. Gypsum is actually a clear substance; the dunes appear white like snow because the gypsum grains are always banging into each other. The scratches then reflect the sun’s rays making them look white.
- It’s home to the world’s largest collection of Ice Age fossilized footprints.
- You can ride, bike and play in the moonlight. Moonlight hikes and sunset tours are available throughout the year from the visitor center.
- Last, but not least you can spot an Oryx here. Between 1969 and 1977, 93 African Oryx were imported from the Kalahari Desert. Today, more than 3,000 roam the dunes.