When you think of dog sledding, you probably think of Alaska. The massive state spans more than 570,000 square miles with barely 1,000 miles of highway, so dog sledding is not only a popular sport but just a convenient means of transportation! You’ve also probably heard of the famous 1,150 mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race which goes from Anchorage to Nome and thought that taking a dog sled out for a spin might be a tad bit fun. Well, guess what. There are more places than just Alaska to try your hand at mushing. Here are 7 of the best places to go dog sledding in the United States. Some of these places even offer camping, but if comfort is more your style, there are plenty of vacation rentals that will allow you to be at one with nature.
Thanks to its stunning scenery, Ely is known as the “Sled Dog Capitol of the U.S.,” and Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge at the gateway of the Boundary Waters Wilderness is the only lodge operation in the country devoted exclusively to dog sledding. In fact, they’ve been providing lodge-to-lodge dogsled vacations for nearly 30 years. Dog sledding can be rigorous and is usually best for people with a good level of health and fitness, but Wintergreen specializes in working with beginners and has trips that are suitable for people who are only minimally fit. If you’re looking for a little more adventure, they also offer camping trips for people with fair to good fitness. While you’re in Ely, check out a few wilder canines at the International Wolf Center which advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.
Get ready for an all-immersive experience in Grafton Notch, Maine. Mahoosuc Guide Service offers a variety of tours from day trips to weekend trips including skiing and snowshoeing. The four to six-day trips in the Maine northwoods even promise to take you to the most pristine and remote wilderness areas. One of the coolest things about Mahoosuc is that they offer special trips with Cree or Inuit guides complete with “local” food like walleye, moose, beaver, bear or goose. If you haven’t gotten enough of the great outdoors, check out Grafton Notch State Park for waterfalls, caves, and the Appalachian Trail.
If you just want to try a little bit of dog sledding, but don’t want to go for an all out, week-long adventure, this is the perfect place for you. Nature’s Kennel offers a half-hour trip for only $75 where guests get to ride around Boyne Highlands Resort near Harbor Springs, Michigan. This tour is available on all winter weekends and holidays. Of course, they do also offer half day, full day, and overnight adventures, so you can easily choose the package that’s best for you and your family. If you don’t want to stay in a cabin or yurt during the overnight adventure, you can also opt for the Chamberlin’s Old Forest Inn package which combines fine dining and fabulous lodging with your dog sled adventure.
4. Mountain Musher Dog Sled Rides in Vail Valley, Colorado
Get ready to see Colorado like you’ve never even imagined. Mountain Musher Dog Sled Rides run tours through a private trail through Aspen groves and pine forests in the Rocky Mountains where no snowmobiles or cross-country skiers are allowed. Instead, you’ll be sharing the trail with elk, fox, coyote, and deer. Two-hour trips are offered in the morning and the afternoon and even include a snack of homemade pumpkin bread and hot cocoa. Other fun things to do in Vail Valley during the winter are skiing and lake ice fishing.
The Adirondacks is the perfect place to take to the sled. In fact, it was home to the first Olympic dog sled demonstration, and some year-round residents still use dog sleds as a reliable form a transportation. Because dog sledding is so popular here, many resorts throughout the mountain towns offer sled rides to their guests. Adirondacks is full of cozy, little towns, but we recommend Golden Arrow Dogsled Rides and Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours in Lake Placid. This quaint town envelops Mirror Lake and is full of outdoor gear shops, snug breweries and inviting coffee shops. There are also plenty of vacation rentals to choose from in the area.
6. Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours in Jackson, Wyoming
Wyoming is marked by pristine wilderness, so finding a place to go dog sledding is easy peasy. Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours feature over 170 Alaskan sled dogs and offer trips going to Granite Creek Canyon and Bridger-Teton National Forest. Keep your eyes on the trail, but if you get a chance to look up, you might spot some rare species such as bald eagles and bighorn sheep. Depending on snow conditions, the season can start as early as late November and could run into April. However, it’s best to book early because they have extremely limited availability. After your tour, there’s plenty to do in Jackson, but if you’re sick of the outdoors and want to warm up, head to Downtown Jackson Hole for outstanding shopping and dining.
Dogsled adventures has been offering dog sled tours since 1979, and you can easily see the owner, Jeff’s, love and passion for these dogs. The dogs love it too! Alaskan Huskies, like many other dogs, love to work because it gives them a sense of purpose in life and much-needed exercise. Many of the dogs at Dogsled Adventures Montana have even been adopted from the Flathead County Animal Shelter and given a happy and loving home. Dogsled Adventures Montana is located 20 miles north of Whitefish, Montana and just a few mountains from Glacier National Park.
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