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Carcross Desert: The World's Smallest Desert

by Murray Lundberg


Plants of the Carcross Dunes



Click on the photos to enlarge them

Photo #9 - the world's smallest desert, at Carcross, Yukon - as seen from the South Klondike Highway

"The World's Smallest Desert" as seen from the South Klondike Highway.

Photo #1 - the Watson River, whose silt formed 'the world's smallest desert' at Carcross, Yukon

The Watson River, whose silt is the source of the dune system.

Photo #3 - the fine sand beach at Carcross, Yukon

Looking north up the beach from the footbridge across the Nares River.

Photo #11 - the fine sand beach at Carcross, Yukon

Although very unusual, small sections of the beach do occasionally get heavy use. This photo was shot during the White Pass & Yukon Centennial celebrations on July 29, 2000.

Photo #10 - aerial view of the Carcross Dunes and the village of Carcross, Yukon

The entire dune system, from the Watson River at left center to the most active dunes at right centre. Much of the village of Carcross is built on the southern limit of the dunes.

Photo #7 - looking northwest across the Watson River valley from the top of the dunes at 'the world's smallest desert' at Carcross, Yukon

Looking northwest across the Watson River valley from the top of the dunes.

Photo #8 - looking southwest to Lake Bennett from the top of the dunes at 'the world's smallest desert' at Carcross, Yukon

Looking southwest to Lake Bennett from the top of the dunes.

Photo #13 - the active dunes of the world's smallest desert burying spruce trees - Carcross, Yukon

At the eastern edge of the dune system, the wind-blown sand is gradually burying the spruce forest that borders it.

Photo #2 - erosion of the dunes along Lake Bennett - Carcross, Yukon

The dunes near the Watson River are being eroded quite dramatically during the storms that occur in the early summer when the water level in Lake Bennett is at its highest.

Photo #4 - the active dunes are starting to bury the schoolyard, at Carcross, Yukon

The active dunes near the beach have started to bury the schoolyard, and some people say that the activity there has dramatically increased since a house was built on the dunes between the school and the lake.

Photo #5 - proposed site of a 150-room hotel, on the edge of the world's smallest desert at Carcross, Yukon

The bare knoll in the centre of the photo, right on the edge of the sensitive dunes ecosystem, is the site chosen by the Carcross-Tagish First Nation for a 150-room hotel to be built in 2002.

Photo #6 - dirt bikes on the dunes at the world's smallest desert, Carcross, Yukon

Another activity that increases dune activity by loosening the sand is the use of motorcycles and ATVs.

Photo #12 - a rainbow over Lake Bennett and the Carcross Dunes - Carcross, Yukon

A rainbow over Lake Bennett and the dunes.


Photos are all © 2000-2007 by Murray Lundberg.

Plants of the Carcross Dunes

A Guide to Carcross