White Sands, New Mexico: Trinity Atomic Test SiteThe exact spot where the world's first nuclear bomb exploded. The Trinity Gate opens to the public twice a year. Get the handout and walk 1/4 mile to view the obelisk and photo displays. There's also a shuttle to the ranch house where the plutonium bomb was assembled.
White Sands Missile Range
- WSMR P Route 13, White Sands, NM
- Hwy 380 to about 12 miles east of San Antonio or 50 miles west of Carizozo. Turn south onto Hwy 525. Drive five miles to the Stallion Gate, then another 17 miles to Trinity. Once within the White Sands Missile Range, there will be signs and the roads will be blocked except for the one to Trinity.
- Open twice a year, on the first Sa in Apr and Oct, 8 am - 2 pm. Gate closes 3:30 pm. (Call to verify)
- RA Rates:
- Worth a Detour
Visitor Tips and News About Trinity Atomic Test Site
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.