Southwestern USA: The Pinnacles of Arizona and the White Dunes of New Mexico

While our main focus on this road trip was to visit Arizona, we took the time to add destinations of interest to our itinerary both on our way there and on the way back, such as White Sand National Park. That way, Arizona seemed much closer to Quebec, since we had several places to visit in-between.

The road between Saguaro and Chiricahua, Arizona

between Saguaro and Chiricahua

In order to make our way back home, we headed east. We made a stop at the Chiricahua National Monument, located on the border of Arizona and New Mexico. As always, we were amazed by the beauty of the landscapes and especially by the diversity of the United States. In just 190 km (from Saguaro to Chiricahua), the scenery completely transforms, from giant cacti to almost desert plains then giving way to snow-capped mountains!

On the road

Chiricahua National Park: a surprising setting!

It was quite surprising to see such big mountains there and upon entering the park, we quickly started our ascent to the top, reaching an altitude of 2200 meters! The road was beautiful and gave us a glimpse at the famous pinnacles. The temperature quickly dropped, however, we even discovered snow at the top and quickly felt the impact of the altitude on our metabolism.

So we set out to explore the pinnacles formed by the erosion of volcanic rocks over 27 million years. The panorama was truly breathtaking!

Exploring the pinnacles

After the hike, we took a moment to cook a good meal and appreciate it in front of this landscape!

Cooking with a view

Traveling by van or the art of being flexible in your plans

The weather forecast prompted us to spend just one day in this park and resume our journey to White Sand. We were very keen to enjoy our next destination and a quietly approaching weather cocktail threatened our visit. No problem! We hit the road after our visit to head to White Sand, knowing that we would have a beautiful sunny day the next day to discover these famous white dunes. This is also what traveling in a van is: having the freedom to change your plans according to the weather!

With the help of apps, we identified our next boondocking spot (located about 30 minutes from White Sand Park) and drove the dark route. It was only the next morning when we woke up that we were able to discover the beauty of what surrounded us.

Sunrise near White Sand

Wow! Although we prefer to travel the roads during the day to see the landscapes, we love the feeling of surprise in the morning when we discover the place where we spent the night!

Waking up near White Sand

A dream day in White Sand National Park

White Sand National Park

White Sand National Park lived up to our expectations! As soon as we approached the park, we saw the formation of the famous white dunes and at the entrance to the park, we quickly left the paved road for an entirely white road.

white road of gypsum
largest gypsm nature reserve

White Sand is not sand, it is actually gypsum! And this is the largest gypsum nature reserve in the world.

walking in White Sand

It was really a beautiful experience to walk in these totally white dunes surrounded by mountains!

Sunset in White Sand

With just ten days ahead of us, the end of the road trip was quickly approaching. In another article, you will learn about our sudden change of final destination, as our initial plans literally fell apart. But have no fear, our new itinerary promised even more!

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