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 gained’t be far behind. Dog sledding in Ontario provides a singular and unforgettable winter expertise, combining journey, pleasure, and the fantastic thing about the province’s snow-covered landscapes. From the trails of the Haliburton Highlands to the picturesque surroundings of Muskoka and the rugged fantastic thing about Algonquin Park, there isn’t any scarcity of locations to get pleasure from 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 may have ever considered doing a canine sledding expertise, it’s straightforward in Ontario Canada. There are so many locations to get pleasure from this winter exercise and we’re going to break down what it’s like on a canine sledding journey and to let you understand 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 performed ethically and responsibly, dogsledding shouldn’t be merciless. We have seen the sturdy bond between the canines and their mushers at a number of totally different canine sled operations. We have seen that huskies love to run and their house owners 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 just a few unhealthy apples that smash it for the remainder of the canine mushers who actually love their canines and deal with them like household.
The one widespread thread you will notice from the canine sledding corporations listed beneath 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 canines nicely being and security being the most necessary facets to these house owners. Check out our put up The Misconceptions of Dog Sledding
A Brief History of Sled Dogs
Did you understand that canine sledding has a historical past that spans 1000’s of years and many alternative cultures? The use of sled canines 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 turned 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 canines that transported antitoxin serum over 700 miles in treacherous winter situations, in what turned 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 crew from our canine sledding journey in Ontario. Many individuals suppose 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 crew and have the journey of a lifetime.
What to Expect on Dog Sledding Trips
Dog sled excursions differ in size, expertise, and vacation spot. Most excursions final 3 – 5 hours however you possibly can ebook a full-day, half-day, and even in a single day and multi-day excursions. Some ebook particular occasions for faculties and companies and all of the operators have one factor in widespread, a love for his or her canines!
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 calm down for the evening having fun with home-cooked meals.
All are led by skilled professional guides who’ve loads of expertise operating 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 train you the fundamentals of dealing with the sled and speaking with the crew 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 crew 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 canines come out, certainly one of your two-man crew has to maintain on to the lead canine to maintain it from operating over to see what all the different canines are doing.
It’s harder than you suppose to maintain them nonetheless. They need to run round, sniff the different groups, and say hiya, they struggle with one another, nuzzle their noses in the snow, and yip and yap so much. It’s a high-octane expertise and you haven’t even began but!
Like a pack of wolves, there are totally different hierarchies for sled canines. Lead canines are the heads of the pack that maintain the groups in line. They are the strongest, healthiest, and most assured. But there are additionally, level canines, swing canines, and wheel canines. Wheel canines are the workhorses. They are sturdy and can pull the sled out of the snow.
The Tour Begins
It’s necessary to pay shut consideration to the directions out of your skilled guides in order that when your dogsled crew takes off, you might be prepared. We noticed many individuals operating after their sleds as they had been taken off guard as soon as the crew began operating.
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 canines settle down and get to work wagging their tails as they run by means of the snow-covered trails.
The run normally works with one particular person getting on the again of the sled to drive, whereas the different slips below a blanket and relaxes in entrance. You can change off all through the day as it may be a little bit bit tiring. Dog sled excursions do take a bit of labor, you will want to assist the crew.
There are solely 5-6 canines on a crew 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 troublesome and you possibly can work as arduous or as little as you want. You may simply be solely a passenger letting the skilled guides do all the work as you watch the surroundings move.
Most excursions have a cease the place you possibly can get pleasure from 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 a little bit not sure if you’ll get pleasure from it, a half-day tour is for you. It lasts about 3 hours and it takes you thru various 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 by means of stunning forests. They normally cease at a clearing the place you possibly can take a break get pleasure from some scorching chocolate and work together with the stunning Siberian Huskies.
Full-day excursions offer you a complete day of dogsledding the place you’ll actually get to know your canine sledding crew 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 stunning areas in Ontario. When a recent snowfall comes down, you’re feeling as in the event you’re in a dream.
Dogs are good and they like being praised as a lot as the remainder of us so we had been consistently giving them stomach rubs once we stopped and confirmed them quite a lot of affection. The extra we praised them, the quicker they ran!
Most full-day canine sledding excursions will supply a scorching chili lunch or hamburgers and scorching canines whilst you get pleasure from 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 crew 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 rely on having a real journey. You may even ebook a one-hour taster tour in the event you like. Regardless of what you ebook, you may 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’ve identified Hank and Tanya for greater than 10 years. Their lovable Siberian Huskies weren’t named the prettiest crew 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 operating excursions for greater than 20 years and have 150 Huskies in their stunning 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 crew of aggressive Huskies. Folks like us might 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 are able to get a style of what it’s like to spend a while on the sled.
You can ebook all the things from half-day excursions to longer excursions that embody multi-day outings. They even supply moonlit runs and heli-dogsledding. We have performed a moonlit run with Hank when he was coaching for the Yukon Quest. We spent all evening along with his canines on the final winter journey and noticed the nice care he takes ensuring his canines are secure and wholesome.
Where to Stay
Turn your out of doors journey right into a romantic escape at their four-season cabin the place you possibly can gentle up the wood-burning range and sip wine whilst you reminisce about your extraordinary day journey.
Located close to Haliburton there are many decisions 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 by means of their canine sledding and skijoring adventures. They have an expansive, non-public path system taking friends into the backcountry in the highland forests on the western border of Algonquin Provincial Park.
For teams of greater than 4 adults, in addition they supply backcountry ski & snowshoe excursions that you may mix with dogsledding, so you may make a weekend out of it. Sunridge borders Algonquin Provincial Park making it a real journey vacation spot in winter. Tours embody 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 individuals by by dogsled and canoe since 1987.
The well being and happiness of his crew are a high precedence. Alaskan huskies differ from Siberian Huskies as they’re a mixture of totally different breads made for long-distance operating. 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 embody winter tenting
Where to Stay
For these choosing an in a single day expertise, the tour consists of 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 maintain you heat. In the night, you’ll get pleasure from 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 get pleasure from the magical silence of all the things 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 keen about dogsledding and their greater than 60 Alaskan Huskies. As with all the dogsledding corporations listed, their crew’s well-being and happiness is the most necessary 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 by means of non-public trails. Tours supply the normal 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 situated 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 quite a lot of decisions for lodging and locations to eat close by.
Tips for Dog Sledding in Ontario
Give your self loads of time to get there, as street situations will be sketchy throughout the winter months and be sure that to examine your map beforehand.
There is proscribed cell protection right here, so in case you are counting on Google Maps, you’ll be in bother.
Dress Warm. You will likely be out in the chilly for just a few hours so heat winter clothes is a should. Make positive to have good snow boots and pack some scorching pictures to 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 ebook your personal winter escape? Instead of watching Netflix on chilly winter days, get outdoors and embrace the snow. You gained’t remorse it.