Guide to Alaska Dog Sledding
The First Timer’s Guide to Alaska Dog Sledding
Hike! Gee! Haw! Frosted fir trees whip past, snow flies in your face as you command a powerful, well-coordinated sled dog team. Not only a sport and state obsession, Alaska dog sledding has a long history that goes back centuries when dogs were used by nomadic Native Alaskans to pull sleds full of supplies. It evolved into personal transportation, mail delivery and rescue assistance.
Get ready for an amazing adventure with this first-timer’s guide to Alaska dog sledding.
Alaska Dog Sledding Excursions
Alaska dog sledding excursions vary. Options include playing with pups at a musher’s camp or gliding over a glacier’s icy surface, happy canines leading the way. Find and reserve all Alaska excursions, including dog sledding.
You can find dog sledding in Juneau, Skagway and near Denali. In summer, expect to ride on dry ground in a custom wheeled sled, not on snow, unless sledding on a glacier. No matter the terrain, the tails will be wagging, the air will be brisk and the views spectacular.
Pay close attention during the orientation to learn commands and safety tips. If you’re not comfortable driving the sled, ride in the “basket.”
What to Wear Dog Sledding
It’s the one thing on every Alaska packing list and no, it’s not mittens. Wear removable layers. Alaska’s weather changes fast, sometimes multiple times in a day. Prepare to spend at least a few hours outside with the dogs.
If you’re going to dog sled on a glacier, put on warmer clothes. Wear wool socks, a comfy mid-layer, a waterproof parka and gloves. Gear such as glacier boots will be provided.
National Iditarod Historic Trail
Take an easy stroll from the port in Seward to mile zero of the National Iditarod Historic Trail, marked with a monument. The Iditarod is most famous for the heroic serum run of 1925 when dog teams ran life-saving serum to Nome and saved the tiny town from an epidemic. But the Iditarod’s history in Alaska goes back further. It was regularly used by Native Alaskans to travel to remote villages and later on, to deliver provisions to miners and settlements.
In the 1970s, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race began. It was a way to preserve dog mushing culture during the rise of the “iron dog” (snowmobiles). Depending on your dog sledding excursion, Iditarod veterans will regale harrowing tales of past races. You’re in for quite the treat.
Book your dog sledding excursion early. Dog sledding is one of the most popular activities on Alaska cruises.