Waiting for sunrise on a cold morning on the night of the full moon. Looking east towards Alamagordo, with the National Solar Observatory near Sunspot, New Mexico on the distant peak.
A perfect night and a perfect view for us while we camped at White Sands National Monument.
Yes, you can camp at White Sands! We highly recommend it, although there are some significant considerations.
Things like, being in the desert, it can be hotter than Hades during the day, then freezing at night. No water, no facilities, you have to navigate and hike in to your spot, which are non-reservable, first-come, first-served. Your spot gets reserved only after you sign in at the front desk and they give you a serious shakedown on your abilities, equipment, and water supplies.*
You don’t actually camp on the dunes, but in the hollows between the dunes, on the hard-pan desert floor. One campsite per flat, so you don’t even know if there are others camping out there, until you climb to the top of a dune and they happen to be on top of a dune near their spot.
Like I said – perfect!
Not knowing how the spot was going to be, we carried in our free-standing tent. With the crisp, clear night, we opted to go without the rain fly, so we had a fantastic view of all of the stars. When we woke up in the morning, we had a nice layer of frost all over us.
If you are in the area, especially now, we highly recommend it. This picture was taken last year, on November 6. This would be the time of year that I would make return trips, as the crowd is almost non-existent, the temperatures are manageable and the views are outstanding. More to come.
* For more details on the camping in White Sands National Monument, click here.