If you're looking for an Alaskan adventure, dog sledding is a must-do! There are many different options when it comes to Alaskan dog sledding tours - from one-hour rides to multiday excursions.
In this guide, we'll break down the basics of Alaskan dog sledding tours so you can choose the perfect one for you. We'll cover everything from what type of tour to choose, to what to consider when booking, to the best time of year to go. So whether you're a first-time visitor or a local Alaskan looking for a new adventure, read on for all you need to know about Alaskan dog sledding tours!
Types of Dog Sled Tours
When shopping around and looking at the various experiences available, this is the first question to ask. Which type of dog sled tour do I want to take?
There are three main types of Alaskan dog sled tours:
A sled ride (sitting in the basket with a musher on the back)
Driving a tag sled (standing on sled runners while the musher drives a second sled also attached to the dogs either in front or behind you)
Drive your own dog team (you are standing at the back, you are the musher)
Sitting in the basket is the most common and traditional way to experience dog sledding. You'll be seated in a small sled that is pulled by a team of Alaskan sled dogs. This is a great option for families, those with mobility issues, a quick experience, or if you just want to relax and take in the scenery.
Driving a tag sled is a more hands-on experience. You'll be attached to the musher’s sled in some way, but you'll also have the opportunity to help drive the team of dogs. This is a great option if you're looking for a more adventurous Alaskan Dog Sledding experience without the responsibility of actually driving the team.
Standing at the back on your own sled is the most immersive way to experience dog sledding. This is how you drive your own dog sled, working directly with the dog team, giving commands, pushing the sled and truly feeling the power and freedom of your own amazing dog sled team. This type of tour happens to be our specialty here at Arctic Dog Adventure Co.
Day Tours vs Multi Day Trips
The next decision to make is whether you want to take a day tour or a multi day tour.
A day tour is a great option if you're short on time or if you're looking for a last-minute Alaskan adventure. Day tours typically last 1-5 hours and will give you a taste of what it's like to mush a team of dogs through the Alaskan wilderness.
Multi day tours are perfect for those who want to really soak in the Alaskan experience. You'll spend multiple days dog sledding, camping under the stars, and learning about life in the Alaskan bush. Multi day tours can last anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks - so there's definitely an option to fit every schedule.
When deciding between a day tour and a multi day tour, ask yourself how much time you have, what’s your budget (plan for $1000-$2000/day), and how immersive you want your Alaskan experience to be.
Where to go Dog Sledding in Alaska?
When choosing a location, consider what type of scenery you want to see and what time of year you're planning to travel. There are many different locations to choose from when it comes to Alaskan dog sledding tours. The three most popular regions offering dog sled tours in Alaska are Interior Alaska, Southeast Alaska, and Southcentral Alaska.
Interior Alaska is home to Fairbanks and Two Rivers. This is the most popular region for Alaskan dog sledding tours - especially during the winter months. Dog sledding in Interior Alaska gives you the opportunity to see some of the most iconic Alaskan scenery, including the vast Alaskan boreal forest and the Aurora Borealis (northern lights). There are a plethora of operators located in Interior Alaska, which makes it easy to find a tour that fits your schedule and budget.
Southeast Alaska is also a great choice if you're looking for summer dog sledding tours as this region stays relatively cool even during the summer months. These dog sled operators use wheeled sleds or carts and you mush down rural gravel roads. There are no winter dog sledding options (that we know of).
Southcentral Alaska is home to Willow, Anchorage, and Girdwood. This region is a popular choice for those who want easy access to Alaskan dog sledding tours and the mountainous scenery cannot be beat!
How much is dog sledding in Alaska?
When it comes to an Alaskan mushing experience, there is definitely a wide range of prices. Some companies offer budget-friendly options starting at around $200, while others can be upwards of $10,000.
The biggest factor that determines the price is the length of the tour. Day tours are typically the most affordable option, while multi day tours will cost more. The number of days, the type of accommodations, and other inclusions you choose will also affect the price.
Day tours range from $100-200/hour
Multi day tours start at $1000/day.
When to Go
The time of year you travel will also affect your Alaskan dog sledding tour options. Most companies offer tours from mid-November to the end of March. This is when there is enough snow to safely operate a dog sled.
If you're looking for a truly Alaskan experience, winter is the best time to go dog sledding. Not only will you have more tour options to choose from, but you'll also get to see the stunning Aurora Borealis (northern lights). Interior Alaska is one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights, and what better way to experience them than from the back of a dog sled?
Some companies may extend their season into April depending on the snow conditions or if they can transport their teams further north. Here at Arctic Dog Adventure Co, we operate in April because we are exclusively permitted to offer trips in the Alaskan Arctic, in locations well above the Arctic Circle that still have good snow at this time of the year.
What's Included in the Tour?
Is gear provided?
Another important thing to consider when booking an Alaskan dog sledding tour is whether or not the winter outwear gear is included. Be sure to ask about this before booking a tour so that you can be prepared.
Some tours will provide all the gear you need, including warm jacket and pants, winter boots, gloves, and hats. Here at Arctic Dog Adventure Co, we provide all the warmest outerwear because it can be very cold here and we want to ensure you are always warm and cozy. This is gear you're unlikely to use again (unless you live in a similar Arctic climate) and it’s expensive, so we just include it for you.
Other tours may require you to bring your own winter gear but will provide things like warm blankets or extra jackets to help keep you warm.
All companies provide the dogs, harnesses, sleds and other required gear for mushing.
Is transportation to/from the kennel provided?
Another thing to keep in mind is that some Alaskan dog sledding tours include transportation to and from the mushing location, while others do not. This is something to ask about when you're looking at different tour options.
At Arctic Dog Adventure Co, we do provide transportation to and from our kennel. We are located about 30 min outside Fairbanks, which means an expensive taxi or rental car is required. Many of our clients choose to fly into Fairbanks and then we pick them up at the airport or pre-trip hotel to make joining our multi day adventures a breeze.
Day tour operators typically do not offer shuttle services, as most visitors who take this type of tour usually have a rental car or have their hotel or travel agent arrange transportation for them.
Is food provided?
Some Alaskan dog sledding tours will also include lunch or a warm snack in the price, while others do not. If food is not included, be sure to ask what type of food options are available nearby or be ready to pack your own lunch or snacks.
At Arctic Dog Adventure Co, we offer a full-service Alaskan dining experience for our guests. This is because we offer multi day trips and it's easier for everyone (guests, guides and dogs) if the food is prepared by us. All of our guests rave about the amazing food on our trips!
Read the Reviews of the Tour Operators
When you're looking at various dog sledding tour operators, be sure to read the reviews. This will give you a good idea of the overall quality of the kennel, what to expect on the tour and help you decide if it's the right fit for you.
Here at Arctic Dog Adventure Co, we pride ourselves on providing an amazing Alaskan experience for all of our guests. We have a five-star rating on TripAdvisor and Google and would love to show you why!
As you can see, there are many things to consider when booking an Alaskan dog sledding tour. But don't let all this information overwhelm you - just use it as a guide to help you choose the best tour for your needs and budget.
If you're still not sure which Alaskan dog sledding tour is right for you or if you have any other questions, feel free to contact us. We would be happy to chat with you and help you plan the perfect Alaskan adventure!