Interdune Boardwalk

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Trip Date: Sunday, February 17th, 2019
Last Updated: Thursday, March 28th, 2019
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★☆☆(3/5)
Overall Difficulty Easy
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 0.4 miles roundtrip
Time 20 minutes
Terrain Mostly flat
Best Seasons Spring, Fall, Winter
Family Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly Yes
Accessible Yes

Highlights

Hike Walkthrough

The Interdune Boardwalk is a wheelchair accessible hike traveling between two large dunes. In contrast to the sparse white sands elsewhere in the park, this area is full of plant life. If you're pressed for time, you won't miss much scenery by skipping this trail, but the educational signage is more thorough than on other trails.

The hike follows an aluminum boardwalk with railings, as pictured below. All along the boardwalk, small signs will identify plants you may see in the area -- these signs are older and sun-faded, but seemed to be well-placed and help slow the pace of the hike. About halfway through, you'll reach a shade structure with seating and a series of newer educational signs about wildlife and the environment.

The wheelchair accessible boardwalk with dunes on either side

The wheelchair accessible boardwalk with dunes on either side

The interdune area is where most plant life exists in the dune ecosystem due to the protection from wind, accumulation of rainfall, and partial shade from surrounding dunes to reduce the brutal summer heat. The boardwalk was specifically designed to protect the thriving plants here. Unfortunately, many don't understand the significance of the interdune area and disregard railings and signs, as pictured below. Please remain on the boardwalk to help preserve this environment for generations of future visitors.
People playing on the dunes to the side of the boardwalk

People playing on the dunes to the side of the boardwalk

At the end of the boardwalk, you'll have a nice view of the interdune area with the sand dunes and Sierra Blanca Mountains as a backdrop, as pictured below. To the left, you can see snow-capped Sierra Blanca Peak, the highest mountain in Southern New Mexico, rising over 7,000 feet above the desert floor. Educational signs will explain more about the ecosystem you are observing.
The view of the interdune area at the end of the boardwalk

The view of the interdune area at the end of the boardwalk

The Interdune Boardwalk is short and sweet yet packed with information about the special dune environment. Let me know what you think in the comments section below and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram!

Important Information

Dogs are allowed on leash (this is one of the few Park Service properties that allows pets). This is a family-friendly trail since it is short and flat with educational signs. The boardwalk is wheelchair accessible, making it also suitable for strollers. Spring, fall, and winter provide the most comfortable weather. Summer temperatures are extremely hot and there is no shade, so visit early in the morning. No matter the season, wear sun protection! There will likely be many others on this trail and playing on the dunes to the side of the trail.

Directions

From El Paso, take Interstate 10 west to Las Cruces. Continue onto Interstate 25 north, then take the exit for U.S. Highway 70 heading east. After about 45 minutes, turn left to enter White Sands National Monument. Pay the fee at the entrance station, and continue straight until you reach the parking lot on the right side signed for the Interdune Boardwalk.

Google Maps Directions

Parking, Fees, and Facilities

The entrance fee is $20 per vehicle per day and annual passes for White Sands National Monument are available for $40. Interagency passes are also accepted here. There are pit toilets in the lot.

External Links

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