There are certain activities you might never have imagined yourself doing—and dog sledding may well have been one of them.
In recent years, however, it has grown in popularity. It’s common now to find it listed as an optional winter activity at many parks and resorts throughout the province.
If all you’ve known of dog sledding until now was the Iditarod Trail, you’re not alone. Historically, dog sledding actually dates back to over 1,000 years ago; it allowed people to travel across Canada during the harsh winter months and was a dependable mode of transportation. A musher would lead a team of dogs who had been specifically bred for the task by Inuit and other indigenous people in the Canadian north.
Today you can find dog sledding kennels throughout the province and there are a number of experiences to choose from, ranging from just a couple of hours to multi-day outings. Check out some of the options available from these Ontario outfitters.
North Ridge Ranch
North Ridge Ranch is a family-run operation with a team of 60 Alaskan Huskies, located on the edge of Huntsville, near Arrowhead Provincial Park. Here you can take dog sledding tours that run along private trails on a sprawling 500-acre property. They offer small guided tours, with 4-5 guests per sled, which allows each adventurer the chance to take the reins. You’ll travel through all kinds of stunning landscapes here, from snowy forests to open trails and riverbeds. Most tours last about 2.5-3 hours, cover roughly 20 km of Muskoka wilderness and include a stop for hot cocoa and snacks. For families with young children there is also the option of a shorter one-hour tour.
Snow Forest Adventures
Algonquin Provincial Park and Temagami, Ontario
If you’re up for a true adventure—in the form of a multi-day trip—then Snow Forest Adventures is likely your outfitter of choice. Spend some real time in the winter forest, anywhere from a one-night to a six-night expedition. You’ll be provided with meals, snacks, beverages and park access, and some of the longer excursions even include snow boots and parkas. You’ll have expert guides with you during the day as you tear through the wilderness with your team of dogs, and at night, you’ll stay in heated prospector tents, enjoying home-cooked meals by the fire.
Winterdance Dogsled Tours
One of the “Canadian Signature Experiences”, Winterdance Dogsled Tours is a family-run company that takes guests on runs through the Haliburton Highlands, just north of the town of Bancroft and bordering Algonquin Park. Choose from 2-hour, half-day, full-day and moonlight excursions; you might even opt for a multi-day dog sledding adventure that includes overnight accommodations at Sir Sam’s Inn and Spa. You’ll receive a comprehensive lesson from experienced guides and get the chance to mush your own dog team of Siberian Huskies.
Winter dog sledding is a unique activity that qualifies equally as an outdoor adventure, romantic escape or family vacation. It’s an adventure you won’t soon forget.