Dog sledding is a tradition from the earliest human times in Alaska and the quintessential way to experience winter in the Arctic and Interior. Join us for a week in the mountains near Fairbanks 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 best time of year.
Dog sledding is a way of life in Alaska’s Interior. Here, dogs are still used to haul wood, water, and people. This trip is designed to give you a taste of the joys and comforts of traveling along frozen rivers and through mountains by dog sled. March is the prime time to enjoy winter travel. The grip of winter relaxes into and deep fluffy snow and dazzlingly bright days.
We will set up a solid and comfortable camp sheltered from the wind in an area with abundant firewood. A large communal 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.
In addition to the aesthetic joys of spring in the Arctic, 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 dogs at our disposal, 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. We can build fires to sit by at night and wait for the northern lights. 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 located at the junction of the moose and wolf-rich Tanana Flats and the Alaska Range. We have seen miles of wolf trails wind up and down the tributaries. There are plenty of tracks to read in the snow and if we’re lucky we may find the animals that make them.
Last updated: September 23, 2021
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.
We will pick you up bright and early, loading into our truck for a 2 hour drive to the trailhead. We’ll stop to take in the views of the Tanana River twisting through the valley. At the trailhead you’ll meet our team of friendly huskies and we’ll cover some dog sledding basics. Then we take off along the trails, gliding through the winter wonderland to our basecamp using a combination of dog power and snowmobiles to transport you to a camp we set-up a few days prior.
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 towards civilization. We encourage you to spend a few extra days in Fairbanks to enjoy more winter time activities like the ice carving championships.
We had a guide whose judgement and advice I trusted unconditionally. I am sure we had the great fortune to benefit from her many years of guiding, especially regarding the food she selected to bring. I found it incredible that the meals never tasted like they were selected for camping but also it always seemed to be very efficient, starting from the good coffee in the morning, to lunches that included gourmet cheeses, to the dinners she prepared that were better than those in many restaurants.
Round-trip airfare 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
2 nights lodging in Wiseman, AK
Non-camp lodging except in 2 nights in Wiseman
Non-camp meals except in Wiseman
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.