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Our newest National Park offers inexpensive primitive camping along a backcountry loop trail. You'll need to carry your gear ~1 mile each way, so pack and plan accordingly. the hike isn't tough, but it will take you 20-30 minutes to get to your site and you want to be settled in time to enjoy the golden hour before sunset! There's no hiking after dark because it can be easy to get disoriented without too many landmarks in the area.
You can't make advance reservations because they can't predict when there will be missile tests that require closing the park for a bit, but they do generally know about a week in advance. Check out the website for updated information. Entry to the park was delayed until 9am two days during the week of my visit, so no camping on those nights. Be prepared to switch nights if necessary!
Arrive in time to check in with a ranger to get oriented and assigned a site. They'll provide you with a map. I arrived mid-day in early December and had a choice of several sites; there were only two other sites occupied. The trail to the site was fairly well marked, although a couple of them were lacking numbers. Your site will be in the low spots between the dunes and you'll be restricted to an area near the numbered pole. You'll be able to see others watching sunsets and sunrises from the tops of the dunes, but once at your site, you're in a private world.
Winter nights are cold and dark…I think I would have enjoyed it more in the autumn or spring with longer and somewhat warmer days, but I loved watching the full moon rise as the sun set. My tent was coated in frost by morning. Camping in the park is the only way to enjoy the sunrises, though my December morning was quite foggy. The last water is available at the visitor's center; bring plenty, esp. in the summer months. You may use a small camp stove for cooking, but it has to be off the ground. There are composting toilets at the parking area, but you'll need to dig a cathole or carry out your waste from the campsite.
White sands national monument is absolutely stunning. The campground is on a loop you have to follow signs up and down dunes until you reach your assigned site. Super cheap, super private, super beautiful! Backcountry camping makes its sound more intimidating than it is. Pack light because you do have to walk all your stuff in, but it’s not far and it’s not a challenging hike. Amazing sunrise and sunset. You don’t have to wear shoes here! Very child friendly. I don’t have kids but it seems very conducive for kid camping. It is open and spacious and you wouldn’t disturb anyone.
Spent an August Saturday night at the campground. Drive-in, pit toilets (pretty clean) and ~50 sites. Low light pollution and amazing views of the Organ Mountains. Organ Needle, Rabbit Ears, Sugarloaf, and Baylor peaks are all visible from the campgrounds. Would have been perfect except for neighboring campers that were making noise until midnight.
Came here on a spontaneous stop on a road trip through NM. Showed up at 2pm on Tuesday and they still had 4 Backcountry camping permits available, $1.50 per person with annual pass.
We were car camping and not prepared for backpacking but the hike in was < 1 mile so it was easy enough to just hike in with bags. Wasn't too hot in late May but was extremely windy.
One of the prettiest sunsets we've ever seen.
Camped for a night because I heard the sand was beautiful. It was but the hiking was sub par there was one trail about 5 miles that was fun because of the sand but just doesn’t have much challenge and no summit type view. Beautiful plants, little animals and sand.
I arrived at Franklin Mountain SP about 4:30. I was told the park was about to close. I asked if camping was available and was told, " yes but I'll be leaving soon". No mention of locking the gate or no water.
I went in and found an almost empty CG. I think there was only one tent located a couple of hundred yards away. I went to the restroom and found no water. Checked another and found the same. I then went back to the entrance kiosk expecting to find water there, but it was empty and closed. I decided to stay since I had about 2 quarts with me.
Great sunset. I heard traffic noise from the highway most of the night, but overall it way a plesant stay. I woke up early to the sound of sirens, mst have been a crash on the highway. Made coffee and loaded up the bike to go into El Paso for breakfast. I then found the entrance gate closed and locked. It would have been a miserable night had I been without water.