US-Parks.com: America's National Parks and Road Trip Planning Find Your Park Road Trip Activities Nature

White Sands National Monument Deserts

White Sands National Monument is located in southern New Mexico at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert. This is North America's largest desert, the majority of which is located to our south in Mexico. This desert region amounts to about 175,000 square miles, stretching some 1200 miles south from Alamogordo, New Mexico, to the the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi. The elevation ranges from near 1,000 feet above sea level along the Rio Grande in Texas to 10,000 feet in the mountainous regions of Mexico, with a large portion found above 4,000 feet. Winters are cool, with nighttime temperatures falling below freezing (occasionally below 0 degrees) an average of 100 times per year in the northern latitudes and climbing as high as 122 degrees F. in some regions.

The Chihuahuan desert differs from the Sonoran and Mojave deserts by receiving more summer rain during monsoon thunderstorms and by colder winters that can drop below 0 degrees F. An ecologically significant factor of the Chihuahuan desert and the monument is probably the number of days below freezing. In the last twelve and one-half years, there have been no temperatures at WSNM below zero degrees F.

Featured Outdoor Gear

$130
When grey clouds and blustering winds signal a rain shower out on the trail, we thank ourselves for stashing the compact...
Price subject to change | Available through Backcountry.com

National Park Spotlight
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Featured Wildlife
Maine Puffins
Maine Puffins


Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.

Currently Viewing
White Sands National Monument Deserts
Outdoor Gear
Featured National Parks
Popular Activities