Heart of the Sands Drive: White Sands Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"A short 8-mile drive through part of the largest gypsum dune field in the world. White Sands National Monument occupies only part of a vast sea of gypsum dunes that blankets part of the flat Tularosa Valley. Two hundred million years ago, shallow bays and lagoons covered much of southeastern New Mexico. The seawater contained dissolved gypsum, along with salt and other minerals. At times these bodies of water were cut off from the main ocean and evaporation accelerated, depositing a thick bed of gypsum-bearing rock called the Yeso Formation.
The basin is closed, with no outlet to the sea. On each side of the basin, the Sacramento and San Andres Mountains remained uplifted, their sheer cliffs exposing the ancient sedimentary rock layers. Special attractions: White Sands National Monument, hiking, and sand-skiing. This eTrail is a complete description of a scenic drive with a route map and information on the best travel seasons, interesting sites, recreation opportunities, camping locations, and much more."