First moonlight hike of 2013 at White Sands National Monument, in the dark lit only by moonlight—does it ever get old? (shamelessly using Samat's old listing)
Each month during the summer, White Sands has a "full moon night" where the park is kept open an extra hour or two. Perfect for some night time, moonlit hiking. The park closes at 11 pm.
Note: this is different than the National Park Service's "Full Moon Hike", which is much shorter (1 mi), and requires reservation in advance.
Please bring (apart from the obvious, like water):
- Flashlight (for emergency purposes only, please don't use it and walk by moonlight instead)
- A potassium-containing snack (i.e. banana) — going up & down dunes is tiring, and we don't want to take too long.
- Sweater/jacket — it may be chilly.
- Something to drink for after the hike, if you are planning on going to the concert or hanging out for a while after the hike.
If you have a GPS, please bring it, and load the GPS track linked below onto it.(I don't have a GPS, so please don't expect me to track the hike.)
DISTANCE is ~5 mi loop.
ELEVATION GAIN is some 200 ft elevation lost, but effectively it is much more because of the up & down of the dunes
FEES: $3/person. If you have a Federal Lands Pass, please bring them; they are accepted here.
DURATION: From sunset (6:30 pm?) to whenever we get back (probably between 9–10 pm).
PET FRIENDLY? Yes. Bring a muzzle (you shouldn't need be told to bring a proper leash).
SKILL LEVEL is is good for a first hike, but still somewhat challenging; the sand is loose and the hike is medium-length (5 mi).
TERRAIN is gypsum sand dunes. The recommendation is that you walk barefoot; otherwise, high-ankle boots/shoes with gaiters (to keep sand out of your shoes) also work great.
WEATHER is clear.
AFTERWARDS If we get done before 10pm I am planning on going to watch the end of the full moon concert. If it is later than 10pm, I am planning on having a drink and watching the moon for a while before heading back, since it is a Friday night. According to the park website, alcohol is prohibited until June 1.
MEET for carpool at:
- Las Cruces: 5:30 pm, K-Mart parking lot on North Main/US 70 and Del Rey, near Shell. GPS: [masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, USGS topo map)
- El Paso: Please meet in Las Cruces… given the construction on Transmountain and that you're organizer is not meeting there, coming from El Paso hasn't worked out too well recently.
- White Sands visitor center: 6:15 pm, front parking lot facing US 70. If you have a federal lands pass, consider carpooling from the visitor's center into the monument so people can save on admission fees. GPS: [masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, USGS topo map)[masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, USGS topo map)
- White Sands Alkali Flat trailhead: 6:30 pm. Please meet at the Alkali Flat trailhead register. GPS: [masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, USGS topo map)