Hiking at White Sands National Monument, not by moonlight, but rather by SUPERMOONLIGHT!
That's right, you'll wish you had sunscreen and sunglasses for this night hike; the Perigee moon will certainly show no restraint, and neither will we. And now, back to your regularly scheduled program...
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 a reservation in advance.
PLEASE BRING (apart from the obvious, like water):
- Any necessary paperwork for immigration (there is a checkpoint!)
- 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.)
If you are not a United States citizen, please remember to bring all necessary paperwork (which usually includes passport, entry visa, etc), as we will need to pass through a border patrol checkpoint. The US Border Patrol is not particularly kind to those who forget their papers.
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 (8:30 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 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 (tentative).
AFTERWARDS it'd probably be best to head home—Monday is a work day!
MEET for carpool at:
- Las Cruces: 6:00 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: 6:45 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: 7:00 pm. Please meet at the Alkali Flat trailhead register. GPS: [masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, USGS topo map)