White Sands, New Mexico: Trinity Atomic Test SiteThe exact spot where the world's first nuclear bomb exploded. Open to the public only two days each year. Walk a quarter-mile to ground zero, and take a shuttle to the house where the bomb was assembled.
White Sands Missile Range
- WSMR P Route 13, White Sands, NM
- Full tank of gas recommended. I-25 exit 139. Drive 12.5 miles east on US Hwy 380. Turn right onto Hwy 525, then south five miles to the Stallion Range Center gate (Must have photo ID, vehicle registration and insurance), then another 17 miles to Trinity. Once past the gate, follow the signs. The roads will be blocked except for the one to Trinity.
- First Sa in April and Oct. Gate open 8 AM - 2 PM. (Call to verify)
- RA Rates:
- Worth a Detour
Visitor Tips and News About Trinity Atomic Test Site
We received this note from Lisa Blevins at the White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs Office:
"The Trinity Site Open House scheduled for October 5, 2013 is cancelled. The next Trinity Site Open House will be held on April 5, 2014... Due to fiscal constraints within the Department of Defense [i.e. the "Sequestration"], WSMR must reduce the frequency of the Trinity Site Open House from twice to once a year. The site will now only be open annually on the first Saturday of April... For further information, contact the WSMR Public Affairs Office at 575-678-1134."
Lisa added, "Wanted to make sure you were included... many of our visitors will check out your site."[Lisa Blevins, WSMR Public Affairs Office, 06/09/2013]
Beginning in 2015, the Trinity Site was once again open to the public twice a year.
The Trinity site is where the first atomic bomb was tested on July 16, 1945. The site is open to the public twice a year, on the first Saturday in April and the first Saturday in October. Access is limited because the site is now a part of White Sands Missile Range. When you get to the White Sands Missile Range, you are expected to show a form of picture ID to military police. The military police direct where you are to go and where to park. They run a pretty tight ship.
Once you get to the site, a dark obelisk denotes the spot where the first atomic bomb was detonated. One stump remains of the steel tower from which the bomb was detonated. The rest of the structure was vaporized in the blast. There is also Fat Man bomb casing on display, and large samples of a mineral called Trinitite available for viewing. Trinitite is a green glass-like mineral that was created in the blast from the exposure of the surrounding sand to intense heat. On the ground there are smaller samples of the mineral. The material is slightly radioactive and property of the U.S. Government, so DO NOT try taking it home with you. There are many pictures on display, with the focus being on military personnel rather than the scientists involved with the Manhattan Project. You can also visit the McDonald ranch house, where the plutonium core was assembled and the scientists viewed the test.[AJ, 04/07/2005]
Flat and empty, surrounded by mountains, the Trinity site is perfect for exploding a secret bomb. Fear of radiation once banned visitors from eating at Trinity, but in recent years vendors have been allowed to sell food and souvenirs. The greatest current threat at Trinity is from wayward snakes.