The Carcross Desert: One of the World’s Smallest Dune Fields
The Carcross Desert: One of the World’s Smallest Dune Fields was originally published in 2022
Coming in at almost 1 square mile in size, the Carcross Desert is among the smallest dune fields in the world. With that said, its name is a bit of a misnomer as Carcross is considered to be too humid to be an actual desert. Either way, the Carcross Desert makes for a great pitstop for those traveling along the Klondike Highway to or from Skagway or a fun little detour from the Alcan (Alaska Highway).
How were the Carcross Sand Dunes Formed?
The Carcross Dunes and much of the Yukon Territory was covered in a layer of ice during the last ice age. As the ice and glaciers melted, the valleys of this area filled with water forming giant lakes.
Evaporation of these lakes over time gave way to sand beaches that were then picked up by winds and blown into the dunes that Carcross is known for today. The sands from Bennett Lake’s beach are the main source of the dunes today.
Flora at the Carcross Desert
The Carcross Desert is home to many unique plants, some of which are even quite rare. These include Mutton Grass, Nelson’s Needle Grass, Alaskan Locoweed, Arctic Aster, Blue Eyed Mary, Snowy Jacob’s Ladder, Saxifrage, Lodgepole Pine, and Kinnikinnick.
How to get to the Carcross Desert
The easiest way to get to the Carcross Dunes independently is by car, whether that be by your own vehicle or by rental. Cruise ship passengers can visit the Carcross Desert by renting a car in Skagway, Alaska, and driving across the border into Canada and back.
Those taking on the Alaska Highway road trip will need to make a detour where the Alcan meets the Klondike Highway and follow the Klondike Highway to Carcross.
There are also day tours on offer from both Skagway and Haines for those that don’t want to be bothered with trying to visit the Carcross Dunes independently.
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