3-Day Carlsbad, Guadalupe and White Sands National Parks Itinerary
It was a year ago we took this trip, not knowing COVID would take over the world and wreck the rest of our travel plans for 2020. I look back at this trip often and I am so glad I took advantage of a 3-day holiday weekend to do it! The size and location of Carlsbad, Guadalupe and White Sands make them perfect for 3- or 4-day trip. It’s rare to be able to see this many national parks in such a short time! If you have a few more days, add on Big Bend National Park.
How to get there
This itinerary is a loop starting and ending in El Paso, TX. El Paso is conveniently located about 3 hours west of Carlsbad and Guadalupe, and 90 minutes south of White Sands.
Day 1: Arrrive in El Paso, TX and drive to Carlsbad, NM
Day 2: Carlsbad Caverns in the a.m.
I recommend the King’s Palace ranger-lead tour (reserve in advance).
Day 2: Guadalupe Mountais in the p.m.
For short like, try the Smith Loop behind Frijole ranch.
Depending on your interests and schedule, you could reverse these and do a bigger hike in Guadalupe in the a.m. (e.g. Guadalupe Peak) and visit Carlsbad Caverns in the p.m. Keep in mind ranger-lead tours at Carlsbad may not be available in the afternoon.
Day 3: White Sands National Park, depart from El Paso
The park is easily experienced on your own, but sunset, full-moon and star-gazing ranger-lead tours are available.
Here’s a high-level overview of the itinerary and where we overnighted. We spent the night in El Paso after our White Sands visit, making this a 4-day trip. To stick to a 3-day itinerary, fly out of El Paso in the afternoon of Day 3 instead of staying overnight.
|1||Arrive in El Paso, TX and drive to Carlsbad, NM||Hampton Inn & Suites, Carlsbad, NM|
|2||Carlsbad National Park in the a.m.; |
Guadalupe National Park in the p.m.
|3||White Sands National Park||Doubletree by Hilton El Paso Downtown|
|4||Depart El Paso, TX|
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