addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramlinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

White Sands' Lake Lucero (the long way)

  • Feb 20, 2012 · 6:15 AM

Lake Lucero is the modern day source of sand at White Sands National Monument. It's located on an reserved part of the monument called the Cooperative Use Zone and is not easily accessible to the public.

Monthly, White Sands gives a Lake Lucero tour, driving there and doing a quarter mile hike to the lake bed. Instead, we are going to hike there from the main part of the park.

This hike will take you to terrain you rarely ever see; photographers do not even take photos.

A quick summary of the dangers on this hike:

  • Dehydration: Even though it's unlikely air temperature crests 65°F, sunlight reflects off the sand making you feel much hotter, dehydrating you faster. This is in the deep dunes/desert, you must carry all of your own water.
  • Military debris: There is a lot of military-related debris and litter once you leave the comfort of Dune Drive. DO NOT TOUCH IT!
  • Remote: This is deep in the dunes and desert. If you need rescue, it will take a long time to get it.
  • Wet/sinking sand: Out on the salt flats, the sand has a lot of moisture. You may sink as much as 3–4 in with each step. Needless to say it's difficult to walk through.

This hike requires a permit from White Sands National Monument from the law enforcement/military liaison ranger. Please e-mail Samat with your full name, name and number of an emergency contact (required!), and if you know, what you'll be wearing on the hike. We'll also need to submit the license plates of the in which we carpool.

DISTANCE is 23-24 mi roundtrip.

ELEVATION GAIN is lost, but the first 2/last 2 miles of the trek have you going through the steepest dunes in the monument, netting to a couple hundred feet climbed.

FEES: $3/person. Of course, if you carpool, please compensate your driver for gas! Special access permit is required.

DURATION: 11–12 hours. Plan for all day.

PET FRIENDLY? No—unless you think your pet can do this kind of mileage.

SKILL LEVEL is NOT beginner friendly. No whiners!

TERRAIN includes sand dunes, ranging from medium-coarse to very coarse (towards Lake Lucero). Over 3/4 of this hike is over completely flat terrain, with 1/4 over the steepest dunes in the park. The completely flat terrain may have extremely sticky sand/mud into which you sink.

WEATHER is unknown, hopefully clear.

MEET for carpool at:

  • Las Cruces: 6:15 am, K-Mart parking lot on North Main/US 70 and Del Rey, near Shell. See map (OpenStreetMap or Google Maps).
  • El Paso: 5:30 am, Walmart at Transmountain/US 54 at the west-most parking lot towards US 54. See map (Google Maps). Note: your organizer is not meeting here, please self-organize!
  • White Sands National Monument entrance: 7 am (park opening).

MORE information:

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    The Dunes were great. Long walk but worth it. Lots of exploded material around

    February 23, 2012

  • David

    Great hike! Great company!

    February 22, 2012

  • michal

    lots of miles... lots of sand... sore feet today... very nice day out! Thanks Samat!

    February 21, 2012

  • Samat

    Reminder to self: get back into shape. Though doing 22+ mi in a day *is* in shape compared to average...

    February 21, 2012

  • Samat

    Marshall: You need boots, definitely. There are only some 2 mi of sand dunes (4 mi total), and the rest is either very crunchy (i.e. painful) or very sticky mud.

    February 8, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Samat, What is the best footwear for this? Boots, sneakers, barefoot...

    February 3, 2012

  • Samat

    Ugh, wrong date! Moving back to Feb 20

    January 11, 2012

  • michal

    Samat... I've got a friend over here in Alamo that would like to do this one... if it is scheduled on a holiday or a Sunday!

    January 6, 2012

  • Samat

    Date is now tentative since this was moved back? the next federal holiday (Feb 20) seems like a good bet.

    December 27, 2011

  • Samat

    Note: I'm not actually sure whether there's enough daylight to do this on Jan 16. It's the best upcoming day because it's a federal holiday and lack of military activity means it'll be easy to get a permit. I'll see how the pace is on the WS hike on Jan 2 before rescheduling.

    December 19, 2011

7 went

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy