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Carcross, Yukon Territory: Where First Nations culture meets epic wilderness adventuresWith under 300 locals spread across just 0.74 square kilometres, the tiny town of Carcross in Canada’s Yukon Territory packs a serious punch. We’re talking big outdoor adventure, abundant wildlife, First Nations immersions and mind-boggling landscapes.

Enjoy the scenic 50-minute drive from Whitehorse, or book a shuttle with Epic North or Who What Where Tours. Read on for five reasons why a summer trip (May to September) to Carcross should be on your bucket list.

Visit the world’s smallest desert

Affectionately known as the world’s smallest desert, the squeaky sand dunes of Carcross Desert run to the shore of Bennett Lake, creating a carpet of irresistible fine, white sand. This natural wonder is not a true desert in the traditional sense, but has a unique geological history. Formed during the last Ice Age, the sand dunes are remnants of glacial activity, with silt deposits left behind by ancient glacial lakes. Over time, wind and weather shaped these deposits into the remarkable landscape seen today. Stretch your legs along the lake shores and marvel at the striking contrast of shiny sand dunes set amongst boreal forest and mountains.

Explore Carcross Commons

In the village of Carcross, known as Carcross Commons, discover the creations of local artisans in funky boutique stores, sample gourmet coffee and dine at Bistro on Bennett. Shop for glittering crystals, Indigenous art, unique locally made jewellery and genuine Yukon souvenirs in this eclectic community. Travelling with the kids? Check out the incredible themed playground and choose from 24 flavours of ice-cream at Bearpaw Delights.

Spend some time admiring the incredible Carcross-Tagish First Nations’ creations, marvel at the staggering totem poles towering overhead, and visit master carver Keith Wolfe Smarch as he works on his latest creations in the Carving Shed.

Hit the trails

Carcross truly an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. Boasting some of the best mountain biking and hiking trails in the world, intrepid travellers flock from around the globe to immerse themselves in this breathtaking, pristine wilderness. Rent a bike and protective gear from Icycle Sports in Carcross and have a chat with the friendly staff about the world-class trails on nearby Montana Mountain, ideal for all levels of ability.

Hikers are equally spoiled for choice with a network of trails taking in landscapes of majestic peaks, deep valleys and alpine meadows. Winding trails meander through dense forests of spruce and fir, home to four-legged locals, such as bears, moose and mountain goats. Climb higher, where alpine tundra is adorned with wildflowers and glacial streams cascade down the slopes, creating icy, glittering pools. Keep the camera poised for distant glaciers and snow-capped peaks on the horizon.

For travellers coming from Whitehorse, consider booking a day trip with Arctic Range Adventure. Starting in Whitehorse, this full day Carcross & Southern Lakes Hiking Tour takes in all the regional highlights, including scenic trails overlooking the jaw-dropping Southern and Emerald Lakes.

Wild Adventure Yukon

Nearby, in the Southern Lakes region, you’ll want to set aside a few hours to make the most of Wild Adventure Yukon, with its cultural and wildlife attractions. Wander through the RCMP Heritage Museum and  check out a display of the 1000lbs of goods that prospectors were obliged to carry in order to cross into Canada during the Gold Rush, and try your hand at panning for real Yukon gold. Finders keepers!

The Wildlife Gallery showcases the local fauna, including polar bears, grizzlies, stone sheep and a perfect replica of a Woolly Mammoth. For the real thing, get up close with the four-legged team members in the petting zoo, from alpacas and donkeys, to horses, goats and adorable sled dog puppies.

During the summer months, guests can experience a dog cart ride with authentic Yukon Quest mushers and their professional dog teams, with motorised carts simulating a genuine winter dog sled experience. Learn all about how to care for the dogs and what it takes to be a long-distance dog mushing competitor in minus-40-degree-temps!

Where to stay?

Book a memorable wilderness stay within 30 minutes of Carcross. Cabins over Crag Lake boast lake, mountain and glacier views, with cosy cabins surrounded by epic hiking and biking trails. Year-round adventure lodge, Boreal Ranch is renowned for its hearty, northern cuisine and sprawling mountain landscapes. Alternatively, explore biking trails, or take to the pristine waters of Tagish Lake for a day of kayaking and fishing at Southern Lakes Resort.


Air Canada offers daily direct flights to Vancouver from Sydney and Brisbane. Direct flights from Sydney to Vancouver are also available on Qantas. Internal flights to Whitehorse and Dawson City are available on Air North and Air Canada.

For more information about Yukon visit www.travelyukon.com.