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Cold Desert
  • Katpana Desert
  • Biama Nakpo
Unexpected Snow in Katpana Skardu.jpg
February 2016 photograph of the high-altitude desert, where sand dunes are seasonally covered in snow
Cold Desert is located in Pakistan
Cold Desert
Cold Desert
Location within Pakistan
Floor elevation2,226 m (7,303 ft)
Country Pakistan[1]
Adm. UnitGilgit-Baltistan Gilgit−Baltistan
DistrictSkardu District
Population centerSkardu
Coordinates35°18′38″N 75°35′27″E / 35.310522°N 75.590747°E / 35.310522; 75.590747Coordinates: 35°18′38″N 75°35′27″E / 35.310522°N 75.590747°E / 35.310522; 75.590747

The Cold Desert, also known as the Katpana Desert or Biama Nakpo,[citation needed] is a high-altitude desert located near Skardu, Gilgit−Baltistan, Pakistan.[1] The desert contains large sand dunes that are sometimes covered in snow during winter. Situated at an elevation of 2,226 metres (7,303 ft) above sea level, the Cold Desert is one of the highest deserts in the world. While the desert technically stretches from the Khaplu Valley to Nubra in Indian-administered Ladakh, the largest desert area proper is found in Skardu and Shigar Valley, both within Pakistani-administered territory. The portion of the desert that is most frequented by tourists is located near the Skardu Airport.[2]


Temperatures range from a maximum of 27 °C (81 °F) and a minimum (in October) of 8 °C (46 °F), which can drop further to below −17 °C (1 °F) in December and January. The temperature occasionally drops as low as −25 °C (−13 °F).



  1. ^ a b "Government of Gilgit-Baltistan". Archived from the original on 12 May 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  2. ^ "PCAA | Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority".