The winter Alaska dog sledding season usually runs from January through March, with the famous Iditarod race held in early March. In summer, your Alaska dog sledding tour may be given in a wheeled cart rather than on snow, or on a glacier. To avoid disappointment, be sure you know what you're getting when you reserve an Alaska dog sledding tour. Things to consider and ask about include where you'll be going and how (on snow, glacier, gravel?), how long the tour will last, whether you'll be riding along or driving the dogs yourself, and what special clothing or equipment you need to bring along. And, of course, price. It takes a lot of chow to keep the Huskies mushing, and these trips don't come cheap.
A word of caution: Dog sleds do not have shock absorbers. The ride can be quite rough, and may not be suitable for people with back trouble.
Long Alaska Dog Sledding ToursThese are some of the companies offering winter Alaska dog sledding tours:
- Alaska Best Wilderness, Fairbanks: Offering 12-day winter expeditions.
- Alaska Dog Sledding, Nome: Run by Jerry Austin, Iditarod hall of fame inductee, this company offers small-group Alaska dog sledding trips. In March, they offer trips that coincide with the Iditarod and include attending the Finishers Banquet and meeting the mushers.
Short Alaska Dog Sledding ToursThese summer Alaska dog sledding tours are suitable for people with a wider range of abilities than those taking the long trips, and some can be taken as shore excursions from a cruise ship.
- Alaska Husky Ranch, Gustavus: At this facility near Glacier Bay, you can tour the kennels, watch a demonstration or mush a team yourself.
- Chugach Express, Anchorage: Run by nine-time Iditarod trail veteran Dario Martinez, they offer tours year round, which can be booked through nearby Alyeska Resort.
- Coastal Helicopters, Juneau: They offer a combination helicopter and dog sledding tour, with pickup at the cruise terminal.
- Godwin Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding Tours, Seward and Juneau: Summer tour on a glacier.
- Goose Lake Kennel, Denali: No sledding here, but you can learn about Alaska dog sledding while you tour the homestead and kennel of three-time Iditarod champion Jeff King and his wife, well known wildlife artist Donna Gates King.
- Sun Dog Express Alaska Dog Sledding, Fairbanks: They offer winter tours and summer demos/rides, with trips from 1/4 mile to 11 miles and a half-day musher school.