Dog sledding is a tradition from the earliest human times in Alaska and the quintessential way to experience winter in the Alaskan Interior. Join us for a week in the heart of the Alaska Range where you will experience the profound quiet of wilderness, the thrill of running a dog team, and the awe of watching the Northern Lights dance above the snowy peaks. Discover why Alaskans think of March as the perfect time to play outside.
In Alaska’s Interior, sled dogs are still a way of life. Your guides use their team of hardy Alaska Huskies to haul wood, water, and people. March is a time time of deep fluffy snow and dazzlingly bright days. The grip of winter relaxes, and it is the perfect time to travel the frozen landscape.
In addition to the aesthetic joys of spring in Alaska, this trip is an opportunity to learn the skills and lore of winter camping. And, of course, how to mush a team of dogs. Our Alaskan huskies are big-hearted, hard working, friendly animals and their enthusiasm for the snowy landscape is contagious. We will have a team of enthusiastic sled-dogs, allowing you to learn to work with the dogs in a safe and controlled situation. As you gain rapport with the dogs and sled handling skills, we can venture further and further from our camp on our daily forays. When not enjoying the dogs, there is lots to do. We will provide snowshoes for making new dog-trails and exploring on foot.
When not exploring, photographing, or lounging, there is plenty of diversion in a winter camp. Wood needs to be cut, snow needs to be melted for cooking, dogs need tending, and the skills and lore of a wall tent camp can be learned and savored. Your guides are happy to do the work but people often really enjoy the rhythm and exercise of joining in to make a truly comfortable camp in such a remote environment.
Wildlife is always unpredictable, but our camp will be at the junction of the moose and wolf-rich Tanana flats and the foothills of the Alaska Range. We can explore in either direction, winding into the mountains or gliding over frozen rivers into the flats country. In both directions we’ll read stories in the snow from local snowshoe hares, moose, coyotes, wolves, lynx, marten and more.
We will set up a solid and comfortable camp sheltered from the wind in an area with abundant firewood. A large communal homemade wall tent with a roaring fire and plenty of good food and drink provides a cozy oasis. Sleeping arrangements will be in wood-heated “Arctic Oven” tents designed here in Fairbanks specifically for cold weather camping and each tent is outfitted with a wood-stove to keep it comfortably warm. You will be sharing the tent with other participants.
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Rendezvous at the Arctic Wild headquarters for a pre-trip meeting and gear check with your guides at 4 pm.
The adventure begins. We’ll pick you up from your hotel bright and early and drive south along the Parks Highway for a few hours, stopping to take in the view of where we’re headed. At the trailhead we’ll meet the dogs and go over mushing basics. After a quick lunch we’ll hit the trail, traveling by dogsled to our basecamp. The trail is wide and easy on the way there, after a couple hours you arrive at camp which has already been set-up. When we arrive the the tents are warm and filled with the smell of good food.
Each day brings its own adventure and surprises. Your desires and the weather will dictate the schedule. Wildlife sightings quicken the pulse and the process of learning to work with the dogs is immensely rewarding. Tents are kept warm and there is ample and delicious food. If you prefer to relax in camp and watch the snowy landscape from the comfort of a warm tent, enjoy! If you prefer to spend the whole day on the trail discovering one new vista after the next we are delighted to take you over the horizon. When the day’s adventures are done we have excellent chances to see the Aurora dancing green and red above the mountains while the dogs howl in the arctic twilight.
Our final morning in camp and time to say goodbye to the trails and vistas you have grown to love. Then it is back on the sled for the run back to the road. Kiss your favorite dog goodbye and then head back to Fairbanks for a well-deserved shower.
Round-trip transportation from Fairbanks
Outstanding guide service
Wholesome, and delicious food while in the wilderness
Stoves, cooking & eating utensils
Repair and safety equipment
Wall tent and stove
Winter camping tools
Winter grade sleeping bag and pads
Snowshoes and/or skis
Personal clothing, and footwear
Gratuity for guide(s)
See full equipment list for details
Temperatures vary dramatically in the arctic. We could see temperatures from -20 to +40 F. Average temperatures should be around 10 F with warm afternoons and cold nights. Multiple layers will ensure comfort despite the dramatic temperature swings common in April. Please consult with us about what clothes to bring so that you are comfortable and follow our winter packing list carefully. Bugs? We might see some snow fleas but you can leave the DEET at home.
Snow-Walkers Companion by Garrett and Alexandra Conover; Ordinary Wolves by Seth Kantner; Winter: An Ecological Handbook, James Halfpenny; Sled Dog Trails by Mary Shields; Dog Driver by Mikki Collins; Fast into the Night by Debbie Clarke Moderow; The Great Alone about Lance Mackey (DVD); and Spirit of the Wind by Lew Freedman . More Alaska reading is available at our bookstore page.