Chara Sands: Desert Among Snowy Mountains in Siberia


The mountainous region of Siberia in Russia has an extremely cold climate. White snow blankets the mountain peaks. But can you believe that freezing cold Siberia has a desert of its own? It’s not a desert with oases and camels, but one with reindeer caravans and bears instead. Chara Sands is a truly amazing place. Chara desert is located in the mountains of Siberia, the Russian territory in North Asia. It’s like a real desert, but with features you won’t see anywhere else except in Trans-Baikal. Cold blue icing right next to warm yellow sand.

Chara desert stretches along 10 kilometers and 5 kilometers wide, with some sand dunes as high as 15-30 feet. Against the backdrop of the cold mountains, the Chara Sands is an extraordinary sight.

The contrast between the cold mountains and the warm-colored desert sand is stunning. For those who may want to see it but fear getting lost in the desert, don’t be afraid, the Chara Sands is only 7 miles long and 3 miles wide.


Views of the desert area of ​​37 km2 is really unique. The sands are surrounded by boreal forests and marshes. As far as the eye could see only the brown color of sand is visible. Similar to the typical of Middle Eastern desert, but without the camel and cactus. Chara Sands look like deserts found in Central Asia. At the base of mountain the glaciers is flowing anyway.

In the winter, the desert is often covered with white snow. However, the snow does not last long. Immediately upon entering spring, the snows will melt again. Desert Chara will again be a sandy desert among the snowy mountain. The desert is surrounded by mountains covered with snow even during the summer; the dunes run into bogs or lakes.

Chara Sands were formed during the Zyrian glaciation period as a lake delta at the front zone of the Sakukan glacier, when Chara hollow was filled with water. According to scientists, Chara desert was formed about 50 or 100 thousand years ago.

The town of Novaya Chara is the starting point for trekking tours in the Kodar Mountains, as well as the Chara Sands.