Calling all dog lovers! Are you ready for the ultimate winter excursion? Well, it’s time to layer up and hold on tight because you’re going dog sledding! More than just an Alaskan pastime, this cold-weather sport is practiced and celebrated across America’s frosty northern states, from Wyoming to New York. Feel the rush of the cold air as you glide over the snow, stay in a Musher’s Village, get cozy with the sled dogs, and camp out underneath the stars on a frozen lake with your pack companions.
Check out this list for some of the best dog sledding escapades across the USA!
Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge (Ely, MN)
Ely, Minnesota, is home to the oldest dogsled center in the United States. Less than 15 miles from the Canadian border, Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge hosts dog sledding excursions from their cozy lodge in the middle of the thick Northwoods. Even better, it’s close to the hiking trails at Kawishiwi Falls and only 20 miles from the North American Bear Center, offering plenty to do before and after your icy adventure.
On multi-day trips, learn the ins and outs of guiding your team of energetic canine companions, from familiarizing yourself with the pack to feeding, harnessing and driving the sled! Enjoy chef-prepared meals at the cabin before taking off for the day on an unforgettable and exhilarating excursion as you race through the heart of Superior National Forest Area. The lodge also offers rugged adventures for the true outdoor enthusiast, with overnight camping trips where you’ll sleep on spectacular frozen lakes underneath a starry sky untainted by the city lights.
Nature’s Kennel Sled Dog Adventures (McMillan, MI)
Nature’s Kennel in McMillan, Michigan, specializes in quick day trips on sledback, ideal for beginners or those interested in dog sledding but not ready for a lengthy wilderness stay. Take a five-hour trip out and back through the gorgeous Michigan snowscape, or enjoy an overnight stay at the Musher’s Village and indulge in a cooked meal around a campfire, access to the sauna, and a yurt for a warm night’s sleep. Adventurers with an interest in photography will love the winter photography tour led by award-winning photographer Shawn Malone. Hike through the ice into Tahquamenon Falls, up steep snowy banks, and take photos of the ethereal night sky, catching views of the Northern Lights all the way.
Beyond dog sledding, Seney National Wildlife Refuge is home to hundreds of native species like black bears, coyotes and wolves, otters, and bald eagles, which you can spot by taking the cross-country ski trail or snowshoeing through the incredible nature preserve.
Mountain Musher Dog Sled Rides (Vail, CO)
For a relaxing and laid-back dog sledding excursion, check out Mountain Musher Dog Sled Rides in Vail, Colorado. You’ll trek 5.5 miles riding shotgun on a sled driven by an experienced musher that’s pulled by a team of Alaskan huskies. Keep an eye out for spotting foxes, elk, and other wildlife along the pristine trail as you dash across the snowy wonderland with views of the Red and White Mountains. Break for homemade hot cocoa and the much-raved about pumpkin bread, and get to know each of the dogs on your team.
After the sledding excitement, take a short drive to Vail, where there are endless opportunities for winter biking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, or a refreshing spa day at the Vail Ski Resort. Or, take a break from outdoor activities and warm up at one of the many distilleries as you unwind from the day’s journey.
Juneau Glacier Dog Sledding & Helicopter Tour (Juneau, AK)
For those seeking both thrill and chill, the Juneau Glacier Dog Sledding & Helicopter Tour in Juneau, Alaska, is the way to go. This exhilarating two-part adventure only takes three hours but is packed with memorable moments. Hop in a helicopter and spot glaciers over icy eskers before touching down on the Herbert glacier, where the second half of your adventure begins. Here, you’ll find the dog sledding camp, where 160 friendly Alaskan huskies are waiting to take you on the trip of a lifetime. Drive the sled yourself or defer to an experienced musher as you glide across the surreal Juneau Icefield, home to over 140 glaciers of varying sizes.
After the tour, visit the Mendenhall Glacier on iceberg-riddled Mendenhall Lake, take a short walk on a well-maintained trail to Nugget Falls, or ride the Mount Roberts Tramway – a popular whale watching spot.
Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours (Lake Placid, NY)
Dog sledding in New York? You bet! At Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours in Lake Placid, you’ll find one of the quickest, most affordable dog sledding rides. At just five minutes long and only $20, you’ll speed across the frozen Mirror Lake with a pack of sledding dogs, a local tradition in the town for more than 100 years. The views of the Adirondacks are amazing! Afterward, explore downtown Main Street, sip a beer flight at Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, or check out the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex and the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.
Jackson Hole Iditarod Tours (Jackson Hole, WY)
In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, locals rave about Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours, led by award-winning, 8-time Iditarod veteran Frank Teasley. The trips (both full and half-day) take you through the Granite Creek Canyon and Bridger Teton National Forest, where you’ll get an up-close look at the 7,000-foot high Teton Mountain Range as well as moose, elk, rare bighorn sheep, and more. If you’re taking a full-day excursion, you’ll get to stop for a soak in the steamy geothermal waters of Granite Hot Springs and get treated to a hearty fireside lunch with the dog pack.
Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing (Bayfield, WI)
Tucked away in the hills above Lake Superior in Bayfield, Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing offers incredible sledding adventures every Christmas through late March. Here, you’ll meet the dogs, learn to harness them and even get the chance to drive your own team! Some of the pack are direct descendants of the heroic sled dog, Togo! Whether you take a morning tour or an afternoon tour, you’ll take in the gorgeous sights of the Bayfield Forest as you whisk across old logging trails. Depending on the weather conditions, you might stop by the famous ice caves!