Desert photography in New Mexico.

By Travel & Leisure
September 04, 2012
NPS Photo

The surreal gypsum desert of White Sands and soaring mountain village of Cloudcroft are a shutterbug’s dream. Here, there are 115 square miles of glistening white dunes, created when mineral-rich lake water evaporates; some of the dunes move up to 30 feet each year, thanks to the wind, but others remain in place. It’s one of several stunning sites in this area, which is best visited from the spring to early fall.

White Sands National Monument

Drive and walk through the glittering, 145,000-acre White Sands National Monument, the world’s largest expanse of gypsum sand dunes.

Nelson Canyon Vista Trail

Drive high into the 9,000-foot Sacramento Mountains and strolling along the Nelson Canyon Vista Trail for views of the White Sands National Monument.


Named for the in-house (friendly) ghost, Rebecca’s at Cloudcroft’s elegant Lodge Resort serves exquisitely prepared Continental fare, like pistachio-crusted trout or chateaubriand for two.

Lodge Resort Spa

Set 9,000 feet above sea level in the rarefied air of Cloudcroft, the Victorian-inspired hotel has 59 elegantly furnished rooms.