Alaska is America's largest, coldest, and 3rd least populated state (though easily the most sparsely populated). It is famous for its northern outdoor activities - its spectacular national parks, mighty glaciers, northern lights, Kodak bears, and of course dog sledding. Dog sledding is by some accounts the state's most popular on-shore excursion.
Often dog sledding tours include a helicopter trip into the mountains and then a dog sledding tour on a glacier. It is one of the best ways to experience the best that Alaska has to offer. Other tours are multiday excursions across a national park. Besides dog sledding itself, other all-season activities include kennel tours and training rides. Alternatively, plan a trip to Canada's Yukon Territory.
What To Know About Dog Sledding In Alaska
Alaska has long traditions of dog sledding. There are even opportunities for summer dog sledding. In the summer many teams camp high up on glaciers and one can enjoy the long Alaskan summer day dog sledding in a t-shirt. Guests can stand on the sled runners and drive the dogs themselves or they can sit in the sled's "basket" and enjoy the ride.
- Tip: The Sun Reflects Off The Snow, Don't Forget The Sunglasses
Winter is of course peak season for dog sledding. At this time of year, one can enjoy the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) at the same time. Remember to pack warmly for this time of year!
- Winter Season: Typically November to March (Depending on Snow Conditions)
Short Tours By Seavey's Ididaride
One company offering dog sledding tours is Seavey's Ididaride. One could say that dog sledding is in their blood. Over the course of 56 years and four generations in Alaska, they have become one of Alaska's preeminent mushing families.
Here are some of the mushing tours they offer (see their website for more info):
Glacier Heli-Mushing (Summer)
With this tour, one can mush on the snow in the summer. The tour starts with a helicopter flight taking the guests to a snowy alpine glacier.
- Location: Girdwood (Alyeska)
- Duration: 1.75 Hours
- Price: Adults $549 and Children $499
- Season: May to August
Wilderness Dog Sled Ride & Tour (Summer)
This is another summer dog sledding adventure and is much more affordable for those on a budget. This tour begins with a 2-mile dog sled ride. But instead of snow and sleds, it is on a wheeled shed. One will mush through the Seward Alaska wilderness along the Box Canyon Creek to the Resurrection Mountain.
- Price: Adults $99, Children (Aged 2-12) $49.50
- Duration: 1.5 Hours
- Located: Seward, Alaska
- Times: 9.00 am; 11:45 am; 1:45 pm, 3:30 pm, and 6:30 pm
- Season: Mid-May to Mid-September
Winter Dog Sled Ride
Of course, the main dog sledding experience is in the winter. These tours are from Mitch Seavey's winter training facility in Sterling, Alaska. The dog teams are 4 to 6 dogs and the tours go through the National Wildlife Refuge.
Remember to dress warmly to be outside for over an hour in the Alaskan winter. Also, be aware that the tours can be canceled at any time if there is inadequate snow on the trail, it's raining, or it's too cold.
- Price: $149.00 to $199.00
Multiday Tours By EarthSong Lodge
Some dogsledding companies offer up to 10-day dog sledding tours. If one really wants to experience the great outdoors of Alaska and the typical 1.5-hour tours just aren't going to cut it, then consider EarthSong Lodge. They offer a range of extended tours in the stunning Denali National Park. Their tours are customizable, and they have numerous tours on offer. Two of them are (pricing is unavailable, contact them for quotes):
Denali Dog Sled Expeditions and Earth Song Lodge are now exclusively authorized to use all the backcountry huts and some other cabins in Denali National Park. This enables them to offer a range of multiday dog sled trips of up to ten days with every night being spent in a warm and cozy backcountry cabin instead of camping.
Sushana River Trip - 3 Days
If one is looking for a perfect introduction to dog sledding in the Denali Wilderness area then consider their three-day Sushana River Trip. The first day is spent at their EarthSong Lodge orienting and training their new guests with a short day trip on the sleds. Then over the next two days, guests drive their own sleds to a backcountry cabin.
- Tip: The Is A Discount For Early Season Trips - December and January
- Ideal For: Those Wanting a Short Adventure, Experience Driving Their Own Sled, And Those Wanting To Learn The Art Of Dog Mushing
Denali Wilderness Expedition - 10 Days
This is the longest tour they offer. It takes one on a grand tour through the Denali National Park (the exact route varies from year to year). They say of this trip, "We feel this trip, no matter the itinerary, is the finest dog sledding expedition adventure offered anywhere." Normally only one 10-day trip is offered in the season.