White Sands Missile Range, NM
(505) 678-1134, ext. 1700
- Hours: Open the first Saturday in April and October only, see gate opening times at the website
- Reservations: Not required
- Cost: Free
- Location: Driving directions below
Trinity SiteOn July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb was exploded at the Trinity Site, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Today, Trinity Site is open to visitors twice a year. About 2,000 people visit every time it's open.
Sights at the Trinity Site include base camp, ground zero, the ranch house where the plutonium core was assembled, an instrumentation bunker and part of the original creater left by the explosion. On exhibit are Jumbo and Fatman bomb casings. Photography is allowed here, but not elsewhere on the White Sands Missile Range.
Bring your own food, but drinking water is available. If you drive in with the convoy from Alamogordo, it's a 170-mile round trip and no gasoline is available.
What about the radiation? According to the website, radiation at ground zero are about 10 times greater than the earth's background radiation. Staying there for one hour exposes you to about 0.5 to 1.0 milliroentgen (mrem), less than the 3 to 5 mrem exposure on a coast-to-coast jet airplane flight. The green, glassy substance called Trinitite, created by the blast, is still highly radioactive and should not be picked up. Pregnant women, small children and anyone else with concerns should consult their doctor before visiting.
Getting to Trinity SiteYou can enter Trinity Site through one of two entrances:
- Alamaogordo: Meet at the Otero County Fairgrounds in Alamogordo and drive to and from the site in a convoy. Everyone in the convoy has to travel together, and you can't arrive late or leave early.
- Stallion Gate entrance: Enter off US 380, 12 miles east of San Antonio, NM and 54 miles west of Carizzozo, NM. You will get a handout that explains the site, and you can enter and leave at any time through this entrance.
If You Liked the Trinity Site, You May Also Like:
- National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, Albuquerque, NM: This museum houses the area's best collection of artifacts and displays about the blast.
- Titan Missile Museum, Tucson, AZ: The only Titan missile silo that still houses a (disarmed) missile.