From the Rocky Mountains to its majestic rivers, Canada is known for having an incredible geographic profile. Missing from that profile? Hot, dry, sandy land – or at least we thought it was. Turns out, the north is even more diverse than many might realize! Located in the Yukon, the Carcross desert is actually considered the smallest in the entire world, so while it’s tiny, it’s still pretty notable.

Significantly drier than its surrounding region, Carcross is only 2.6 km2, but how is a desert here even possible?

Related posts:
Here’s how to get 1 of 1,000 FREE trees being handed out to Seattleites this fall
This stretch of Highway 1 in BC was just listed as one of the world’s most dangerous roads


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Em (@just.agirlandherphone)

Well, due to a peculiar ‘rain shadow effect’ caused by its surrounding mountains, the 640 acres of land receive 50 cm (20 in) less precipitation per year. In addition to the sand dunes themselves, this allows things like the Baikal Sedge, a rare species of plant life, to exist, grow and even lock the sand into place.

Because this vegetation is so hard to come by, these dunes have actually become pretty important to Yukon tourism – which is why they’ve attempted to have the area protected by the federal government.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask), the last time they presented a formal proposal to do so was in 1992 when it was rejected due to public opposition.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by hippieheureuse (@hippieheureuse)

You see, from tours to sandboarding, beach volleyball, and skydiving, this stretch of land has become a recreational hotspot and will probably remain as such.

So there you have it! Canada holds some pretty cool titles – but who knew ‘world’s smallest desert’ was one of them!


Where: Directions here