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WHERE IS THE WORLD’S SMALLEST DESERT?


If you guessed anything south of latitude 60, you’re wrong! The answer is the Yukon Territory, Canada and it’s called the Carcross Desert.

Recognized by the Guinness Book of Records, the Carcross covers an area of just 642 acres. Ten thousand years ago it was the bottom of a large glacial lake. As the lake dried, the sand dunes were left behind. Today, the sand comes mainly from nearby Bennett Lake, blown in on the wind.

Although it has been recognized as the world’s smallest desert, technically it isn't a desert. It is simply a series of sand dunes. The area is too humid to be considered an actual desert. But still, the area is much drier than the land around it, receiving less than 28 cm (11 inches) of precipitation annually – including snow!

As a result of the unusual conditions, the Carcross is home to several rare plant species including Baikal Sedge (Carex sabulosa) which is known to exist in only four other sites in North America, and Yukon Lupine. Other species include Spruce, Lodgepole Pine and Kinnikinnick.

Located about 70 km south of Whitehorse, the Carcross Desert is a very photogenic spot we plan to visit during our 2020 edition of the Yukon Gold! photo tour. You will find it on Day Two of the itinerary, when we explore from Whitehorse, to Carcross, to Little Atlin Lake, to Marsh Lake and back to Whitehorse.

Barry, always in 'teaching mode', will be ready to help you with composition, framing, DoF, metering and, before we head into the sand, how to protect your equipment!

Join us for the Yukon Gold!, 2020 photo tours, May 2nd to 10th, 2020. Contact us via the contact tab for the full itineraries.



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