When is the best time of year and time of day to visit?
Time of Year
Knowing when to travel to a desert landscape it is best to check temperatures, wind speeds and expected storms. White Sands is a place where temperatures fluctuate often so click here to see current conditions.
According to parks service these are the expected conditions throughout the year:
June through August, daytime temperatures average 95ºF (35ºC), with some days reaching as high as 110ºF (38º). Evenings are much cooler, ranging from 50-65ºF (10-18ºC). The rainy season begins in early July and lasts into late September. These months bring the majority of our annual 10 inches (25.4 cm) of precipitation. Late afternoon and evening thunderstorms are common. From September through November, daytime temperatures average 80ºF (27ºC), with a low of 65ºF (18ºC). Evenings are cooler, averaging around 40ºF (4ºC). During these months, days are typically sunny with light winds. From December through February, daytime temperatures average 60ºF (16ºC). Evenings are cold, averaging around 23ºF (-5ºC). The occasional winter storm will bring rain and limited snow. March through May, daytime temperatures average about 75ºF (24ºC). Evenings are cool, averaging around 40ºF (4ºC). Spring brings high winds up to 50 mph. Sunny days with strong windstorms are common.
Time of Day
The best times of day to photograph the dunes is in the morning at sunrise or during sunset. I recommend camping in the park over night to capture the perfect sunrise with the mountains juxtaposed against the gypsum dunes or be sure to enter right at 7 when the park opens for the softest light. For sunset photos, be sure to drop a pin at your location, hike a ways out from any of the many parking areas and find some beautiful dunes to start taking photos on. I recommend taking with both the sun shining on the face of your subject and with the subject between you and the camera to create a silhouette.