One of the most striking landmarks in the immediate area is White Sands National Monument. Located 15 miles southwest of Alamogordo on U.S. Highway 70/82, White Sands is open every day except Christmas. The pure white, great, wave-like dunes of gypsum cover nearly 300 square miles of desert. Lying just west of Holloman's western fence, the dunes are clearly visible from space. Enjoy picnicking, hiking, sledding on the dunes or take advantage of the monument's available programs: guided hikes and drives, full-moon night hikes, trips to the source of White Sands at Lake Lucero and evening slide shows. White Sands also hosts an annual balloon festival every September. There is a small charge for entry into the monument. For additional information, call (575) 479-6124.