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Visit to the Trinity Site

The Trinity Site is the location of the detonation of the world's first atomic bomb.  Well, it was not actually a bomb... that was dropped.  It was a nuclear "device" and it was exploded while sitting atop a tower.  On the first Saturday in October 2003, I had the good fortune to be at the Stallion Gate at 8 am.  The gate is four miles south of Highway 380, and the turn off is about 22 miles from Socorro.  This is when visitors are first allowed into to the site.  The guards at the gate gave my motorcycle the once over and waved me for the drive to the actual location.  Seventeen miles into the desert I pulled into the gravel parking lot for the Trinity Site.  It was kind of eerie seeing the leftover wire guides, about the only thing that the military (or the explosion) did not remove.  Looking closely at the ground, I could see leftover bits of Trinitite (green sandy, glassy stuff) all over, especially near the fence line.  Since we use radioactive sources where I work, I was interested in the conversation at the tent demonstrating how safe it was to visit the site.  They had Geiger Counters and all.  But, the discussion was way too elementary for me to hang around long.  After visiting the obelisk, I took a bus ride to the McDonald Ranch and then headed out.  I was at the site for about four hours.  I recommend getting there before the bus loads from Alamogordo arrive.
This was one of my all time favorite places to visit.  If you think so too, please drop me a note on what you found interesting by stopping at my Feedback Page.


Trinity Site

The Trinity Site is located near the north end of the White Sands Missile Range. It is only open to the public on two days per year. The first Saturday in April and the first Saturday in October. I took this picture of the sign and my Kawasaki Voyager XII the night before as I passed by going from Roswell to Socorro, NM.

Trinity Site

National Historic Site marker.


The Road In To The Site

It was a bit eerie seeing the wire guides left over from the atomic test.  My preconceived notion was that everything within a couple miles was obliterated.  Not so.

The Remains Of The Tower

Right next to the obelisk is the only remaining element of the original tower.  It looked like they put up the guardrail just for today.

The Remains Of The Tower

I call it "Stumpy" as it's all that is left of the tower from the explosion.  The steel looked to be in pretty good shape for being at ground zero.  Again, my preconception was that everything was vaporized.

The Monument (Obelisk)

I got to the site right away in the morning. The place was fairly empty (as you can see). But, by about 10 am it started to fill up and by early afternoon it was a zoo. Fortunately, I was able to catch the sites and then hit the road toward the Very Large Array (VLA).

Commemorating The Event

Here's a close up of the obelisk and dedication plaque.

The Monument (Obelisk)

What a day to visit the Trinity Site on my motorcycle.  What started out as foggy and a bit gloomy, turned out to be bright sunshine.  This view is from the North side of the site, looking south toward the entrance to the fenced off area.

The Original Ground Surface

Along the west edge of the site is a little structure built to protect an (allegedly) undisturbed portion of the original blasted ground surface.  Someone arranged a few pieces of Trinitite to give you the general idea of what the surface looked like immediately after the test.  It seemed a bit contrived, but that was okay.


This is what's left of Jumbo. Jumbo was originally intended as encapsulation for the materials just in case the bomb was a dud. Well, in the end it turned out they figured that they didn't need to encapsulate the bomb.  So, for fun they just set Jumbo a few hundred yards from the tower and detonation location.  Jumbo got its current shape being roughed up a bit through botched attempts by individuals trying to destroy it.

McDonald Ranch

The McDonald Ranch. This is where they assembled the core of the bomb before inserting it into the detonation device.


McDonald Ranch

Me in front of the McDonald ranch. The other tourists were very friendly and most of us offered to take each others pictures.  How cool!!!


  GPS Coordinates


When searching for the Trinity site on the internet, I had difficulty confirming exactly where the site was.  So, I include the GPS coordinates for all you techies to confirm you will be in the right place.  My GPS is a Garmin Street Pilot III.

  Turn off of Hwy 380 - N33 53.036 W106 40.263

Stallion Gate - N33 49.254 W106 39.151

Trinity Site - N33 40.601 W106 28.529

McDonald Ranch - N33 38.990 W106 27.549









































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