Dog sledding combines three of the best things on this planet: huskies, snow, and sleds. Really, it’s the winter travel trifecta you never knew you needed. When exploring the world’s most magical cold-weather destinations, you’ll want to set aside time for snowy adventures beyond skiing and snowboarding. That might mean booking a day of tubing or snowshoeing, or finally making an attempt at cross-country skiing (be warned: you’ll be sore the next day). Dog sledding is a bucket-list winter pastime that gets you out into the snow, and more importantly, ample time to nuzzle husky puppies.
These are the best dog sledding destinations around the world:
In the arctic circle, Kiruna is the northernmost city in Swedish Lapland. You can book dog sledding adventures with Lapland Wilderness Tours, led by 12 beautiful, world-class Alaskan huskies. You’ll rush through a winter wonderland, even gliding over a frozen lake, passing moose and reindeer in the wild. Or if you’re staying at the Icehotel, just outside Kiruna, they can arrange an airport transfer via dog sled.
Where to stay: Choose a regular “warm room” or sleep in an ice “cold room” at the Swedish Icehotel, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary in December 2019. If you’re staying in an ice room, you can bunk in the seasonal part of the hotel where each room is reinvented out of ice every winter and then melts every spring, back into the Torne River. If you’re nervous about spending the night in an ice room, book a suite, which has a connected warm hideaway with a sauna.
Québec City, Canada
The beauty of dog sledding in Quebec is that some of the best terrain to explore is just outside Québec City. The forests directly outside the city are serene and blanketed with snow all winter. Chenil la Poursuite is one of the premiere dog sledding operators in Quebec, and they offer one-hour or half-day tours about 20 minutes outside Québec City. You can snowshoe for free on the same day as your dog sledding excursion, add on a snowmobiling adventure, and of course, play with their husky puppies.
Where to stay: Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, a five-star property in Old Québec City, which is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel has sweeping views of the St. Lawrence River. Each of the properties’ 610 rooms and suites exudes European elegance—and you don’t even have to cross an ocean for the ambiance.
The Chilean city of Villarrica is home to magical winters from end of July to end of September. Villarrica is a southern Chilean city framed by Villarrica Lake and Villarrica Volcano—the country’s most active volcano. Parque Nacional Villarric hosts climbing excursions in the summer and sees plenty of skiers in the cold weather (and don’t forget, south of the equator, their ski season is the opposite of ours). You can even explore the volcano via dog sled—andBeyond organizes a husky adventure, wherein they dash over the snow-covered lava slag skirting Villarrica Volcano, passing native araucaria trees.
Where to stay: andBeyond Vira Vira in Pucón, an adjacent town to Villarrica. This area is considered Chile’s “lake district,” according to andBeyond. The property itself sits on an organic farm, and the exclusive lodge features six suites, 12 villas, and a five-bedroom, stand-alone Hacienda.
Greenland is still largely untapped in the travel realm, but there’s plenty of infrastructure for arctic touring and overnight stays. There are even dog sledding tours that originate in Reykjavik and include airfare to Greenland. Often you can combine the visit with a northern lights scouting experience, too. Greenland Adventures hosts multi-day dog sledding treks through east Greenland in pursuit of authentic Inuit tradition, remote ice fjords, and aurora borealis.
Where to stay: Trips like these tend to provide accommodations, because pickings for Greenland hotels are slim. On Greenland Adventures’ dog sledding tour, guests are set up in cabins or guest houses along the route. Alternately, you can also stay at Hotel Arctic on the Ilulissat Ice Fjord and arrange a dog sledding excursion nearby.
Outside Juneau, you can dog sled along Mendenhall Glacier. True Alaskan Tours does a three-hour dog sled tour of the Mendenhall Glacier and Juneau Icefield, with a stop at their dog camp to meet the husky puppies and “professional mushers.” The tour starts with a helicopter ascent to True Alaskan’s home base on the Mendenhall Glacier where you’ll meet the huskies ready to take you on the cross-glacier sight-seeing journey of your Alaskan dreams.
Where to stay: The Silverbow Inn is right in downtown Juneau, surrounded by mountain views. With only 12 rooms, The Silverbow Inn is the “first and only boutique hotel in Juneau.” It’s done entirely in the architectural style of owner Jill Ramiel—she and her husband Ken own the hotel and live locally with their children.
Akureyri is just off Iceland’s ring road in the north of the country, nearly 250 miles from Reykjavik. The north is really the perfect spot for dog sledding in Iceland—Inspiration Iceland coordinates dog sled tours through the arctic plains of northern Iceland. Travelers can stick to dog sledding passed the Akureyri ice fjords and waterfalls, or tack on a jeep tour to Lake Mývatn or a photoshoot with husky puppies.
Where to stay: Lamb Inn Öngulsstaðir is a family-owned and run boutique hotel in the Akureyri countryside. Each of the 14 rooms has the signature Scandi cozy-but-minimal design, and breakfast is always included. Their restaurant is exceptional—it comes highly recommended for their roast leg of lamb. And the inn has a hot tub in full view of the fjord.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
The greater area surrounding Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole hosts a plethora of magical winter-wonderland activities. You can’t dog sled within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. However, the best places for dog sledding in the area are Teton and Shoshoni National Forests. For dog sledding tours, work with Continental Divide Dogsled Adventures for a half-day tour or an overnight adventure.
Where to stay: Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole is nestled right in Teton Village. The lodge in the mountains is a perfect winter escape, with a pool that’s heated year-round and après-ski cocktails (or, in this case, après-sledding cocktails) at The Handle Bar.