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Playa Trail

Easy
 2.8 (5)

A short trail to an interesting desert feature.


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Map Key

0.2

Miles

0.3

KM

100%

Runnable

3,987' 1,215 m

High

3,985' 1,215 m

Low

0' 0 m

Up

2' 1 m

Down

0%

Avg Grade (0°)

0%

Max Grade (0°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Visitor passes are $5 for adults and are valid for six days. Except for December 25, White Sands is open year round. Park hours vary throughout the year, generally from 8 am to 6 pm. Dunes Drive is occasionally closed due to missile testing at the adjacent range, blocking access to the trail. Weather closures occur on occasion as well. Hours and closure information can be found here.

Description

This is a quick, level trail that leads to a little playa. A playa is a slight dip or low-lying zone that fills briefly with rainwater after storms. For the majority of the year, this playa is a dry lakebed. Playas are common in desert climates.

Lake Lucero, also a playa, is considered the modern source of the sand in the park. It is much larger than the playa you'll see here as it covers approximately 10 square miles total. Lake Lucero is located 15.5 miles southwest of here and the only access is across the White Sands Missile Range, making it inaccessible to the public except on monthly ranger-led tours. You can get a tour schedule at the Visitor Center.

Flora & Fauna

White Sands National Monument experiences especially harsh environmental conditions, even for the desert. That hasn’t stopped many species of animal from adapting, surviving, and even flourishing here. If you look hard enough, you may see tracks in the sand to remind yourself of their presence. And while it may be difficult to believe, there are more than 800 types of animals that call white sands their home.

Plants play a crucial function in the ecosystems of White Sands National Monument, stabilizing the windward sides of the dunes and providing both shelter and food for fauna.

Contacts

Shared By:

Brian Smith

Trail Ratings

  2.8 from 5 votes

#28448

Overall
  2.8 from 5 votes
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Trail Rankings

#449

in New Mexico

#28,448

Overall
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182 Since Jan 26, 2016
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Photos

The playa with the Sacramento Mountains rising beyond.
Feb 25, 2019 near Holloma…, NM
The flat white expanse of the playa.
Feb 25, 2019 near Holloma…, NM
View of the dry lake
Jun 9, 2018 near Holloma…, NM
View of the dunes
Jun 9, 2018 near Holloma…, NM

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