It’s that point of 12 months when the snow begins to fall in Canada. Alberta has already seen its first snowfall and northern Ontario received’t be far behind. Dog sledding in Ontario provides a singular and unforgettable winter expertise, combining journey, pleasure, and the great thing about the province’s snow-covered landscapes. From the trails of the Haliburton Highlands to the picturesque surroundings of Muskoka and the rugged great thing about Algonquin Park, there isn’t a scarcity of locations to take pleasure in this conventional winter exercise.
Best Dog sledding in Ontario
We have had the alternative to go canine sledding a number of instances in our lives. We even joined legendary Canadian canine musher Hank Debruin in Haliburton on an all-night coaching enjoyable earlier than he left for the epic Yukon Quest race.
If you’ve got ever considered doing a canine sledding expertise, it’s straightforward in Ontario Canada. There are so many locations to take pleasure in this winter exercise and we’re going to break down what it’s like on a canine sledding journey and to let you recognize what it’s like.
Is Dog Sledding Cruel?
But first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Is canine sledding merciless?
The query of whether or not dogsledding is merciless could be a complicated and divisive subject. When carried out ethically and responsibly, dogsledding is just not merciless. We have seen the robust bond between the canine and their mushers at a number of completely different canine sled operations. We have seen that huskies love to run and their homeowners love to run with them!
We have studied this subject extensively and have visited canine sled operations in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. When speaking with canine sledding tour operators, they’ve the identical reply as with the case of all companies round the world – There are a number of dangerous apples that break it for the remainder of the canine mushers who really love their canine and deal with them like household.
The one frequent thread you will notice from the canine sledding corporations listed under is that they’ve a deep love and respect for his or her Siberian and Alaskan Huskies. Lots has modified over the years with the canine nicely being and security being the most vital facets to these homeowners. Check out our publish The Misconceptions of Dog Sledding
A Brief History of Sled Dogs
Did you recognize that canine sledding has a historical past that spans hundreds of years and many alternative cultures? The use of sled canine dates again to at the very least 2000 BCE, with proof of dogsledding discovered in Siberia, Northern Canada, and Greenland.
During the gold rushes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, dogsledding grew to become an important technique of transportation.
Dogsledding additionally has a notable place in historical past for its position in public well being. In 1925, a diphtheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska, was halted thanks to a relay of mushers and sled canine that transported antitoxin serum over 700 miles in treacherous winter circumstances, in what grew to become generally known as the “Great Race of Mercy.”
Dogsledding in Ontario
“Was this photo taken in Banff?” A reader requested us this once we posted a photograph of our canine staff from our canine sledding journey in Ontario. Many folks assume that they’ve to go to Alberta, The Yukon, and even Quebec for canine sledding, however Northern Ontario provides superb excursions the place you possibly can drive your personal canine sled staff and have the journey of a lifetime.
What to Expect on Dog Sledding Trips
Dog sled excursions range in size, expertise, and vacation spot. Most excursions final 3 – 5 hours however you possibly can e book a full-day, half-day, and even in a single day and multi-day excursions. Some e book particular occasions for colleges and companies and all of the operators have one factor in frequent, a love for his or her canine!
Some canine sledding kennels supply in a single day lodging in cabins and even heated prospector tents set in snowy forests the place you possibly can chill out for the night time having fun with home-cooked meals.
All are led by skilled skilled guides who’ve loads of expertise working groups and all of those Ontario.
Your Dog Sledding Adventure
Upon arrival, you’ll obtain a brief complete lesson on how to drive and management your sleigh and educate you the fundamentals of dealing with the sled and speaking with the staff earlier than the employees brings them out from their cozy kennels and begins to hook them onto the sleds.
They will then introduce you to your staff and chances are you’ll even have the probability to assist harness and put together them for the journey. This is the place the frenzy begins. When canine sledding, you might be an energetic participant. As the canine come out, certainly one of your two-man staff has to maintain on to the lead canine to preserve it from working over to see what all the different canine are doing.
It’s more durable than you assume to preserve them nonetheless. They need to run round, sniff the different groups, and say hey, they battle with one another, nuzzle their noses in the snow, and yip and yap lots. It’s a high-octane expertise and you haven’t even began but!
Like a pack of wolves, there are completely different hierarchies for sled canine. Lead canine are the heads of the pack that preserve the groups in line. They are the strongest, healthiest, and most assured. But there are additionally, level canine, swing canine, and wheel canine. Wheel canine are the workhorses. They are robust and can pull the sled out of the snow.
The Tour Begins
It’s vital to pay shut consideration to the directions out of your skilled guides in order that when your dogsled staff takes off, you might be prepared. We noticed many individuals working after their sleds as they have been taken off guard as soon as the staff began working.
As you step onto the sled, you might be instantly immersed in the winter wonderland that surrounds you, with snow-covered bushes and the crisp, chilly air filling your lungs. The canine calm down and get to work wagging their tails as they run via the snow-covered trails.
The run normally works with one individual getting on the again of the sled to drive, whereas the different slips underneath a blanket and relaxes in entrance. You can swap off all through the day as it may be somewhat bit tiring. Dog sled excursions do take a bit of labor, you will have to assist the staff.
There are solely 5-6 canine on a staff and there are two of you. If you don’t lend a serving to hand, they’ll flip round and offer you a glance of, “Come on, do you really think we are going to do this ourselves?” So be ready to sweat a bit.
Don’t fear although, it’s not that tough and you possibly can work as laborious or as little as you want. You might simply be solely a passenger letting the skilled guides do all the work as you watch the surroundings go.
Most excursions have a cease the place you possibly can take pleasure in scorching cocoa and snacks and have a while to work together with the lovable Alaskan huskies.
Half Day vs Full Day
If you’ve by no means been on a dogsled earlier than or are somewhat not sure if you’ll take pleasure in it, a half-day tour is for you. It lasts about 3 hours and it takes you thru assorted canine sledding trails and beautiful surroundings. Half-day journeys are enjoyable for the entire household taking you thru trails in the Muskoka Wilderness, Algonquin Park, or different non-public trails via lovely forests. They normally cease at a clearing the place you possibly can take a break take pleasure in some scorching chocolate and work together with the lovely Siberian Huskies.
Full-day excursions offer you a whole day of dogsledding the place you’ll actually get to know your canine sledding staff whereas going deeper into the forest of locations like the Haliburton Highlands and Algonquin Provincial Park. The Haliburton Forest is related to Algonquin Park and it’s merely certainly one of the most lovely places in Ontario. When a contemporary snowfall comes down, you are feeling as for those who’re in a dream.
Dogs are sensible and they like being praised as a lot as the remainder of us so we have been always giving them stomach rubs once we stopped and confirmed them a whole lot of affection. The extra we praised them, the sooner they ran!
Most full-day canine sledding excursions will supply a scorching chili lunch or hamburgers and scorching canine whilst you take pleasure in heat drinks by the fireplace to keep heat. And that’s precisely what occurred throughout our tour. We loved snacks whereas the guides fed the staff some snacks too!
Best Dog Sledding Tours in Ontario
We have gone dogsledding with a number of corporations round Canada and have all the time loved them. Whether you resolve on a day journey or to do some multi-day canine sledding, you possibly can depend on having a real journey. You may even e book a one-hour taster tour for those who like. Regardless of what you e book, you can be positive to find it irresistible. Here are some extremely advisable canine sledding excursions in Ontario.
1. Winterdance Dogsled Tours
Winterdance Dogsled Tours is a part of Ontario’s signature expertise canine sledding and we now have identified Hank and Tanya for greater than 10 years. Their lovely Siberian Huskies weren’t named the prettiest staff on the Iditarod path for nothing!
Winterdance Dogsled Tours is a family-run operation owned by Hank DeBruin and Tanya McCready that solely runs with Siberian huskies. They have been working excursions for greater than 20 years and have 150 Huskies in their lovely kennels on their property sitting excessive on a hill in the center of the forest.
Hank has run and completed each the Iditarod Race and Yukon Quest along with his personal staff of aggressive Huskies. Folks like us could not have the talent or guts to compete in a thousand-mile canine race ourselves, however by taking the 3-hour drive from Toronto to Haliburton Highlands, we will get a style of what it’s like to spend a while on the sled.
You can e book every part from half-day excursions to longer excursions that embrace multi-day outings. They even supply moonlit runs and heli-dogsledding. We have carried out a moonlit run with Hank when he was coaching for the Yukon Quest. We spent all night time along with his canine on the final winter journey and noticed the nice care he takes ensuring his canine are protected and wholesome.
Where to Stay
Turn your outside journey right into a romantic escape at their four-season cabin the place you possibly can mild up the wood-burning range and sip wine whilst you reminisce about your extraordinary day journey.
Located close to Haliburton there are many selections for lodging and different adventures in Algonquin Park.
2. Sugar Dogs Adventure Co. in Sundridge Ontario
Sugar Dogs Adventure Co. gives a particular and thrilling approach to expertise the winter panorama of Ontario via their canine sledding and skijoring adventures. They have an expansive, non-public path system taking company into the backcountry in the highland forests on the western border of Algonquin Provincial Park.
For teams of greater than 4 adults, additionally they supply backcountry ski & snowshoe excursions that you could mix with dogsledding, so you can also make a weekend out of it. Sunridge borders Algonquin Provincial Park making it a real journey vacation spot in winter. Tours embrace park entry.
Ed has been canine sledding for 25 years and has been working this family-run firm since 2005. Get extra particulars on excursions right here.
3. Snow Forest Adventures
Dogsledding with Snow Forest Adventures in Algonquin Provincial Park and Temagami provides a hands-on, interactive expertise that immerses you in the world of mushing. Owner Greg Lawrence has been guiding folks by by dogsled and canoe since 1987.
The well being and happiness of his staff are a high precedence. Alaskan huskies differ from Siberian Huskies as they’re a mixture of completely different breads made for long-distance working. You’ll discover they’re long-legged and long-bodied with a cute and enjoyable character to go together with it.
Snow Forest Adventures provides multi-day canine sledding journeys that embrace winter tenting
Where to Stay
For these choosing an in a single day expertise, the tour contains an introduction to winter tenting the place you’ll keep in heated prospector tents, wrapped up in sleeping baggage on a comfortable camp cot. Inside the canvas tents, you’ll keep toasty heat with a wooden range to preserve you heat. In the night, you’ll take pleasure in a scrumptious, home-cooked meal ready by your information, providing you with a style of conventional Canadian delicacies. There is nothing fairly like winter tenting as you watch the stars and take pleasure in the magical silence of every part being in the wild provides.
4. North Ridge Ranch Muskoka Dogsledding Tours
North Ridge Ranch in the coronary heart of Muskoka has been in operation for greater than twenty years. Owners Brad & Leah Fetterley are captivated with dogsledding and their greater than 60 Alaskan Huskies. As with all the dogsledding corporations listed, their staff’s well-being and happiness is the most vital a part of their enterprise.
North Ridge provides one-hour and half-day excursions. The half-day canine sledding tour takes you on a 20 km journey via non-public trails. Tours supply the traditional choices of studying how to deal with the sleds, stops in the wilderness and scorching drinks and snacks. See extra particulars right here.
Where to Stay
Being positioned in Huntsville there are many issues to do from skating at the Arrowhead Provincial Park ice path to exploring the city of Huntsville. Plus, there are a whole lot of selections for lodging and locations to eat close by.
Tips for Dog Sledding in Ontario
Give your self loads of time to get there, as highway circumstances might be sketchy throughout the winter months and make sure that to verify your map beforehand.
There is proscribed cell protection right here, so if you’re counting on Google Maps, you’ll be in hassle.
Dress Warm. You will likely be out in the chilly for a number of hours so heat winter clothes is a should. Make positive to have good snow boots and pack some scorching pictures on your arms and toes. When you might be the passenger you’ll be sitting on the canine sleds and your metabolism will decelerate. Even although you’ll have a blanket over you, it’s chilly.
We additionally recommend packing goggles or UVA Sunglasses and a heat hat and balaclava.
So are prepared to reply the name of the wild and e book your personal winter escape? Instead of watching Netflix on chilly winter days, get exterior and embrace the snow. You received’t remorse it.