Mescalero Sands North Dune Off-Highway Vehicle Area

More than 610 acres of towering 90+ foot sand dunes await your enjoyment in the Mescalero Sands North Dune Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Area. The dune field stretches over most of the area and lends itself well to all terrain cycles, sand rails and dune buggies. The dunes are made up of quartz particles and are constantly changing due to the prevailing southwest wind. When the dunes are active, they move about a foot per year.

Among the biggest surprises in the area are the mature cottonwood trees. The combination of a very shallow water table and the sand's capacity to hold water allows these trees to thrive in an arid environment.

While the road into Mescalero Sands is capable of supporting cars, trucks and buses, the soft sand off established roads and parking lots is not. BLM does not recommend leaving the surfaced areas in any vehicle other than an all-terrain vehicle.

The Bowl Parking Area provides access to the northern portion of the dunes, which includes the "Bowl." The Bowl is a large depression surrounded by dunes. The Cottonwood Site provides access to the southern portion of the dunes. Trails connect both portions of the dunes.

Purchase activity passes


Adventure is at Your Fingertips



  • Individual -- $3.00. 
  • Vehicle (2 or more people) -- $5.00. 
  • Bus (over 15 people) -- $15.00. 


  • Open year-round.


  • OHV use, motorcycle riding, picnicking.
  • RV camping is allowed in the north, middle, and south parking lots. Dispersed camping is allowed in the dunes away from the parking lots, but these areas can only be accessed by machines designed to go in soft sand.


  • There are picnic tables and shelters at the Bowl Parking Area. The Cottonwood Site has three shelters equipped with picnic table and grills. The restroom is also located at the Cottonwood site. There is no water available at Mescalero Sands. 

Special Rules 

  • No hunting. 
  • The area is considered "open," with no trail restrictions.


Geographic Coordinates

33.40272083, -103.8610119


From Roswell, travel east 45 miles on US 380 and turn south at the sign. From Tatum, travel west 27 miles on US 380.