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Playa Trail Overlook

The easy, level hike through a playa with an ever-changing habitat fueled by rain and summer monsoons.

Hiking Easy

732 m
0 m
0 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
1.2 km
High Point
1.2 km
Playa Trail Overlook Map

The Playa Trail is the easiest hike in White Sands National Park, and it's perfect for the entire family! It explores "a shallow depression or low-lying area that fills temporarily with rainwater from storms," though it is often reminiscent of a dry lakebed. Depending on the season, however, it could be "brown, white, filled with water, or even growing crystals," making it a must-do hike for anyone visiting the dunes.


There is no potable water, restroom, or shade located at this trailhead, so plan accordingly. The trail is blazed with a green marker and heart symbol and is easy to follow. Interperative kiosks are also located on the trail and "an Ice Age scene filled with ancient giants that once roamed this are awaits those who hike to the end of the trail," the NPS boasts!

The trailhead for the Playa Trail is a small pull-off on the main road, about 2.5 miles past the visitor center. The hike takes most visitors 30 minutes to complete, and it is recommended to bring at least one liter or 32 ounces of water.

If you're feeling up to the challenge, the Dune Life Nature Trail is located just across the roadway, and offers you the opportunity to wander across snow-white sand dunes on a moderate two-mile trek.




Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area