It’s October. Falling leaves, pumpkins and spice, apples fresh from the orchards, cool crisp morning air. Who is thinking about snow? I am! Why? Because I love snow! And it’s time to start planning our family’s next snowy adventure.
Got you thinking about your own winter adventure? But just what will that winter adventure be? Will it be skiing and skating. Or perhaps sledding and snowshoeing. Don’t forget the traditional horse drawn sleigh. Here’s another one for you – go dog sledding!
Wait – dog sledding? Yes indeed! Dog sledding can be such a great family adventure. Read on, my snow-bound friend, to learn more about why I think you too might want to put dog sledding on your next winter family vacation adventure list.
My boys and I lucked into a half-day dog sled adventure during a recent winter vacation to Yellowstone National Park (more on that adventure later). We had a down day in Jackson Hole, WY, and on a whim, I contacted Jackson Hole Iditarod Dog Sled Tours. Good luck snowed down upon us – and snowed out somebody else. There was a cancellation due to a snow storm back east, and a sled was ours for the taking. Woohoo! Check another item off my bucket list!
The question remained – would it be worth the fairly steep price? It absolutely was! Here’s highlights of our four incredible hours riding behind a sled dog team into the snowy woods outside Jackson Hole, Wyoming. You be the judge – did we have fun?
Mush! That’s right – we even had to mush that sled ourselves. Each boy had his turn to drive, though my youngest was too young to drive alone. He and I drove together.
Snowy Fun. A safe, yet exhilarating “race” through snow-covered wooded paths. Though my youngest did knock me off the sled runner – twice! Yep, just like in the movie, Snow Dogs, I was “dragged” behind our sled, much to the laughter of all of us!
Fireside Break. A toasty warm fire to warm us up half way through, and hot chocolate and snacks to fill us up for the ride back to the kennels.
Bonding time. A dog sled trip isn’t complete without spending time with our wonderful team of sled dogs! They are such awesome creatures.
Is Dog Sledding for Everyone?
I think so. You just need to find the right tour operator for your family. Many tours are family friendly, though there might be limitations with the youngest riders. Even cat-lovers can thoroughly enjoy the ride. Imagine a cat’s fantasy – being pulled around by dogs! Seriously though, you don’t even have to drive the sled. Most tours offer the option of sitting in the sled for the entire duration of the ride. Though for the more adventurous, make sure the tour allows you to mush. That was the highlight of our sledding experience, and you really want to mush your own sled.
Don’t just take my word! Even the GooGoo Dolls have gone dog sledding.
Words of Wisdom To Consider When Booking A Dog Sled Adventure:
Convinced you to try dog sledding? Some words of wisdom for you. If you are considering booking your own family dog sled adventure, call the dog sled tour operator and speak directly with them. Make sure that tour fits your family’s idea of adventure. Here are a few tips and questions to ask to ensure you get the most out of your dog sled ride:
- Book early! Most places have limited availability, especially around the holidays.
- If younger kids are sledding, consider booking a shorter trip. It can get cold and frosty out there!
- Ask if you can drive your own sled.
- Ask at what age are the kids allowed to drive. If you have a child younger than the minimum age, as we did, ask if that child will be allowed to co-drive with an adult.
- Ask if your kids can get up close and personal with their dog sled team.
- Ask if you need any special equipment, and if they provide it. Googles are highly recommended, and some places will provide them. Others don’t.
- Ask if there is a child discount. We got a small price break on our youngest.
- If your tour includes food, make sure there are child friendly options.
- Most of all – dress warm and be prepared to have fun! Oh, and don’t forget the camera.
Is Dog Sledding Expensive?
It can be. Depending on when and where you go, dog sledding may not be the most budget-friendly winter adventure. In fact, in some areas, for a family of four, it can be quite pricey. Know your prices before you book it. So why do it? For the deal of an adventure that your family will be talking about for years to come! My boys have already asked when we are going again.
It’s not just in Alaska anymore! Dog sled tours have gone global. A good place to start your search is at Dog Sled Rides, an international resource for locating dog sledding tour operators around the world. I’ve also listed here several destinations that offer dog sled adventure opportunities. Have fun searching!
United States: From Alaska to Maine, and many states in-between, dog sled adventures are just waiting to take you for a ride.
Maine – Song in the Woods and Mornington Crescent Sled Dogs
Upper Michigan – Triple Creek Kennels and Nature’s Kennel Sled Dog Adventures
Wisconsin – Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing
Minnesota – Wintergreen Dog Sledding Lodge
Montana – Absaroka DogSled Treks
California – Wilderness Adventures Dog Sled Tours
Canada: From the eastern most Province to the western most, if you live in Canada – or happen to be traveling there – you might just find yourself not too far from a dog sled adventure opportunity.
Ontario – North Ridge Ranch
Quebec – Eco Tourisme Quebec Dog Sledding Adventures and Mont Tremblant Activities
British Columbia – Dog Power Adventures
World / Europe: Don’t worry if you won’t be in the United States or Canada any time soon. There’ plenty of other world-wide destinations where you can ride off with the dogs. Here’s just two examples. Plenty more out there.
Iceland – Dog Sledding Iceland
Scandanavia – Dog Sledding Sweden and Norway
Don’t forget to check Dog Sled Rides for other destinations!
Are you ready to put on your snow boots and kick up some snow with the dogs? Have you been dog sledding before? Think you might consider a dog sled adventure now?Let us know in the Comments section below.