Are you ready to go dog sledding Alaska style? Alaska is host to the most famous trail sled dog race in the world: the Iditarod. That practically makes experiencing the sport in this state a right of passage. Keep reading to learn where the eight best places to go sledding are.
Table of Contents
- What Is Dog Sledding?
- How Much Does It Cost to Go Dog Sledding?
- Where Can You Go Dog Sledding in Alaska? Here Are the 8 Best Places
- Is It Cruel to the Animals?
- Is Dog Sledding in Alaska Worth It?
What Is Dog Sledding?
Dog sledding is when dogs pull a sled on snow. A musher is a person that rides the sled and guides the dogs.
A dog’s fur and padded paws make it so they can survive in the cold and snow. This has allowed dogs to play an essential role in helping build communities in the Arctic Circle where transportation could be difficult. Dog sledding dates back to around 1,000 A.D. Many believe that the native and Intuit people in Northern Canada invented it.
How Much Does It Cost to Go Dog Sledding?
Glacier dog sledding in Alaska can cost between $550-$650 for adults and $500-$550 for kids. Sleds on wheels tours run between $75-$135 for adults and $40-$110 for kids.
The overnight dog sledding tours in Denali National Park cost between $1,175-$9,525.
Where Can You Go Dog Sledding in Alaska? Here Are the 8 Best Places
Dog sledding in Alaska is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for many. We’ve found the eight best places to try your hand at mushing.
1. Juneau Musher’s Camp Tour
About: You can only find an Alaska dog sledding experience at Juneau Musher’s Camp in the summer. The sled is on wheels instead of snow, but dogs still pull you along. It takes you a mile through the Tongass National Rainforest.
You also get to play with the dogs and meet their mushers. When you return to Musher’s Camp, one of the mushers will give a presentation about the Iditarod, one of the most famous dog sledding Alaska races.
Location: Juneau, Alaska
Tour Length: 2.25 hours (Roundtrip from the cruise ship terminal in Juneau.)
2. Seward Dog Sledding Adventure
About: This adventure includes dog sledding on a glacier and a helicopter tour. The flight will take you towards the mountains over Resurrection Bay. It lands on Godwin Glacier, where the dog camp is located.
The dog sled ride goes across the snow for two miles. After dog sledding, the helicopter will take you back to Seward.
Location: Seward, Alaska
Tour Length: 1.5 hours (The helicopter ride is 20-25 minutes, dog sled ride is 20 minutes, and time on the glacier is 1 hour.)
3. Skagway Dog Sledding Tour
About: The Skagway tour includes Alaska dog sledding and a glacier helicopter tour. After flying over glaciers and snowfields, the helicopter will land at the dog sledding camp on the Denver Glacier.
Tour operators will provide you with boots and vests to keep warm while exploring the glacier and dog sledding with professional mushers.
Location: Skagway, Alaska
Tour Length: 2 hours roundtrip from downtown Skagway. (Time on the glacier is 1 hour, dog sledding is 30 minutes, and flight time is 30 minutes.)
4. Mendenhall Glacier Dog Sled & Helicopter Tour
About: This excursion takes you to the Mendenhall Glacier via helicopter. You’ll land on the 12-mile-long glacier where the dog sled camp is. The dog sledding adventure will take you across the snow, and you’ll have time to play with the dogs too.
Location: Juneau, Alaska
Tour Length: 3 hours roundtrip from the cruise ship terminal in Juneau. (The flight time is 30 minutes, and you’ll have one hour for dog sledding and time on the glacier.)
5. Overnight Denali Dog Sled Tours
About: Alaska Dog Sled tours offers 2 to 10-day overnight dog sledding adventures in Denali National Park. There are tours from January through April.
The tours take you into the backcountry wilderness on a dog sled. You’ll spend your nights in warm huts throughout the national park’s interior, a cabin on the Sushana River, or a cabin at Wonder Lake.
A guide will train you for one day, and then you get to drive your own dog team. Tours are limited to two-four guests, but you can contact them if you’re interested in a customized group trip.
Location: Denali, Alaska
Tour Length: 2-10 days, depending on the tour.
6. Wilderness Dog Sled Tour
About: The Wilderness Dog Sled Tour is at the Seavey Family Homestead. The Seavey’s have three consecutive Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race championships.
The dogs take you on a 2-mile ride by pulling a dog sled on wheels. You’ll ride along Box Canyon Creek to the base of Resurrection Mountain. And your guide will tell stories from the dog sled trails. Afterward, you can tour the kennels and play with puppies. Tours are available from mid-May to mid-September and take place several times a day.
Location: 12820 Old Exit Glacier Rd., Seward, AK 99664
Tour Length: 1.5 hours
7. Moonlight Mushing & Aurora Tour
About: This two-in-one package tour includes a nighttime 5-mile dog sled under the aurora or Alaska moonlight. Two people can ride on a sled along with the professional musher. Arctic outerwear and a heavy blanket come with the sled. However, you must wear your own long underwear and fleece layers to stay warm.
Location: Herning Rd., Fairbanks, AK 99712
Tour Length: 20-30 minutes (Rides begin at 10:15 p.m. at Trapper Jim’s cabin in front of Aurora Pointe Activity Center.)
8. Girdwood Glacier Dog Sledding
About: This experience takes you up to the Punchbowl Glacier via helicopter to a camp that the Seavey family manages. Here, you can play with the dogs and learn about them. You’ll then go dog sledding on a 2K to 3K loop on the snowfield. The tour provides waterproof layers and over-boots. The tour operates from May 1 to August 31.
Location: 599 Mt. Hood Drive, Girdwood, AK 99587
Tour Length: 2 hours (Time on the glacier is 90 minutes, and flight time is 30 minutes.)
Is It Cruel to the Animals?
Whether dog sledding is cruel to animals or not is a controversial subject. PETA is on one side of the fence and claims dog sledding is not healthy for the dogs. In contrast, organizations like the Iditarod show how dogs are well cared for.
We think you should research both sides of the debate and form your own opinion. And if you get a chance to visit a kennel in Alaska, you’ll learn a lot about the processes, nutrition, and general care for dogs involved in dog sledding first-hand.
Is Dog Sledding in Alaska Worth It?
Dog sledding in Alaska is a fun experience. We definitely think it’s worth it! Not only do you get to spend time with some super cute dogs, but you’ll also get to learn about the traditions and history of the sport. Plus, you’ll engage with the beauty of Alaska in a truly unique way.
If you visit Alaska, we hope you’ll try one of these eight dog sledding tours. Mush on!
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