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 take pleasure in this conventional winter exercise.
Best Dog sledding in Ontario
We have had the alternative to go canine sledding a number of occasions 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 have got ever considered doing a canine sledding expertise, it’s simple 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 already know what it’s like.
Is Dog Sledding Cruel?
But first, let’s focus on the elephant in the room. Is canine sledding merciless?
The query of whether or not dogsledding is merciless generally is a complicated and divisive subject. When performed ethically and responsibly, dogsledding just isn’t merciless. We have seen the robust bond between the canine 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 similar reply as with the case of all companies round the world – There are a couple of dangerous apples that smash it for the remainder of the canine mushers who really love their canine and deal with them like household.
The one widespread 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. Rather a lot has modified over the years with the canine effectively being and security being the most vital points to these house owners. Check out our put up The Misconceptions of Dog Sledding
A Brief History of Sled Dogs
Did you already know that canine sledding has a historical past that spans 1000’s of years and many alternative cultures? The use of sled canine dates again to a minimum of 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 situations, in what grew to become referred to as the “Great Race of Mercy.”
Dogsledding in Ontario
“Was this photo taken in Banff?” A reader requested us this after 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 wonderful excursions the place you may drive your personal canine sled crew 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 may e-book a full-day, half-day, and even in a single day and multi-day excursions. Some e-book particular occasions for faculties and companies and all of the operators have one factor in widespread, 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 may 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 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 you might even have the likelihood to assist harness and put together them for the journey. This is the place the frenzy begins. When canine sledding, you’re an energetic participant. As the canine come out, one in every of your two-man crew 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 suppose to preserve them nonetheless. They need to run round, sniff the different groups, and say good day, they combat with one another, nuzzle their noses in the snow, and yip and yap quite a bit. 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 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 crew takes off, you’re prepared. We noticed many individuals working after their sleds as they have been taken off guard as soon as the crew began working.
As you step onto the sled, you’re 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 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 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’ll need to assist the crew.
There are solely 5-6 canine 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 may 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 cross.
Most excursions have a cease the place you may 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 uncertain if you’ll take pleasure in it, a half-day tour is for you. It lasts about 3 hours and it takes you thru diverse canine sledding trails and attractive surroundings. Half-day journeys are enjoyable for the complete household taking you thru trails in the Muskoka Wilderness, Algonquin Park, or different personal trails by means of lovely forests. They normally cease at a clearing the place you may 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 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 one in every of the most lovely areas in Ontario. When a contemporary snowfall comes down, you’re feeling as in case you’re in a dream.
Dogs are sensible and they like being praised as a lot as the remainder of us so we have been continuously giving them stomach rubs after we stopped and confirmed them a number 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 hearth 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 may rely on having a real journey. You may even e-book a one-hour taster tour in case you like. Regardless of what you e-book, you may be positive to like it. Here are some extremely really helpful canine sledding excursions in Ontario.
1. Winterdance Dogsled Tours
Winterdance Dogsled Tours is a part of Ontario’s signature expertise canine sledding and we have now recognized 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 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 crew of aggressive Huskies. Folks like us might not have the ability 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 e-book all the pieces from half-day excursions to longer excursions that embrace 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 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 out of doors journey right into a romantic escape at their four-season cabin the place you may mild 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. offers 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, personal 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 would be able to 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 individuals by by dogsled and canoe since 1987.
The well being and happiness of his crew are a prime precedence. Alaskan huskies differ from Siberian Huskies as they’re a mixture of totally 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 consists of an introduction to winter tenting the place you’ll keep in heated prospector tents, wrapped up in sleeping baggage on a snug 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, supplying 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 all the pieces 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 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 by means of personal trails. Tours supply the regular 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 a number 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 might be sketchy throughout the winter months and be sure that to examine your map beforehand.
There is restricted cell protection right here, so if you’re counting on Google Maps, you’ll be in hassle.
Dress Warm. You can be out in the chilly for a couple of hours so heat winter clothes is a should. Make positive to have good snow boots and pack some scorching photographs on your palms and toes. When you’re 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 outdoors and embrace the snow. You gained’t remorse it.