Photographs and videos of the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Race, when mushers and their dogs navigate 1,150 miles of astonishingly beautiful but extremely desolate Alaskan terrain, captivate viewers. While you may never want to challenge the mountain ranges, ice-sheathed rivers and pine-shrouded forests that these men and women must pass through on their route from to Anchorage to Nome, you can experience tamer dog-sled tours. Dog-sled tours are offered during the snowy season from resorts in Minnesota, Colorado and California to the glaciers in Alaska.
Continental Divide Dogsled Adventures offers day trips up toward the Continental Divide, overnight trips, and multiple night excursions, with stays in a yurt.
National Geographic and Outside Magazine have both lauded Wintergreen Dog Sled Lodge in Minnesota as a place to experience a dog-sled adventure. Wintergreen offers lodge-to-lodge dog sledding vacations and dog-sled camping adventures for all ages. You can take one-day trips, multi-day lodge to lodge trips and even book an Arctic experience.
Krabloonick offers dog-sled rides through the surrounding wilderness of the Snowmass/Aspen Area. Ten Alaskan sled dogs pull each sled, which can carry two adults and a small child. These sleds are controlled by experienced mushers during two-hour rides. The kennel, which houses some 200 dogs, is slopeside at Snowmass. Sled-rides are available late November through April, and can be combined with lunch or dinner at Krabloonik, a popular but pricy restaurant featuring game dishes. Dinner is available year-round.
Chugach Express, based in Girdwood, Alaska, near Alyeska Resort, offers dog-sled tours year-round. In the summer, the tours are on glacier snow at this resort on the Kenai pennuinsula not far from Anchorage. The company’s owner Dario Martinez is a 9-time Iditarod trail veteran, and you may even get to ride with Iditarod dogs.
Cold Creek Fire Dog Sledding tours brings visitors into some of the most beautiful sections of the Canadian Rockies. Located in Jasper, at the far end of the Icefields Parkway, this region offers skiing, snowmobiling and ice climbing in the winter. It's truly a winter wonderland.
Godwin Glacier Dog Sled Tours out of Seward, Alaska, combines a helicopter ride with dog sledding. You fly over Resurrection Bay and glacier-shaped mountains, perhaps with glimpses of mountain goats, bears and eagles, on your way to go dog sledding on Godwin glacier.
California's snowy mountains offer plenty of opportunities for dog sledding adventures for the whole family. Let About.com's California guide Betsy Malloy tell you where to go.