Let’s take a moment to imagine life without technology or hi-tech transportation. Imagine getting from one location to another using just the power of dogs pulling you, your supplies and a sled. It may seem a little far-fetched but this is the reality of life for much of the year in Alaska. National parks such as Denali rely heavily on dog sledding teams, so when we had the opportunity learn more, we were raring to go. Welcome to dog sledding in Denali National Park!
Roads are frequently inaccessible and when you think about Denali National Park, there are millions of acres that have no access at all by road. It can be far too dangerous to use a helicopter to land on a glacier and even if this is a possibility, Denali is a preserved landscape or an “untouched wilderness” that is best explored on foot. That is where we introduce the world of dog sledding.
Dog Sled Demonstrations
We were extremely fortunate to arrive at Denali in time to take the shuttle bus to the dog kennels to watch a short demonstration of the dogs in action. If you are looking for awesome things to do in Denali, the dog sled demonstration is certainly a great choice. These lovable huskies quickly change from cute dogs that you can’t help but want to cuddle, to working animals eager to impress their leaders.
Arriving at the dog kennels, we had time to walk around and visit with many of the dogs. Some are friendlier than others though all of them appreciate a quick back scratch.
We had the opportunity to head inside the cabin to learn more about the history of dog sledding in Denali. Pictures showcasing the rich history of this form of transportation over the years are present inside the cabin but it’s outside where all the action takes place.
The national park ranger gave a brief introduction into life in Denali, particularly outside of the months where visitors can take one of the various bus tours through the park.
Dog sledding in Denali National Park is a year-round activity and frequently dogs and rangers will be sent out in horrific conditions to help save lives or conduct scientific research on the region.
After a few minutes of presenting information about the Denali dogs, the rangers started preparing them for the demonstration. The huskies knew what was happening and immediately changed from a quiet, tranquil environment to a very excitable collection of dogs raring to be harnessed in and race around the track.
A short demonstration followed and then we were introduced to the team of six dogs that were used for that demo. We then watched the dogs sent back to their kennels and we had a further opportunity to take a few selfies with them and mingle before heading back to the visitor center on our shuttle bus.
We hope that you enjoyed our video promoting the awesome dog sledding in Denali National park experience. I want to emphasize that this is a FREE tour offered multiple times each day during the season that Denali National Park is open.
We strongly recommend taking this tour from the visitor center to learn more about how these dogs provide such an amazing service to everyone in Denali. Maybe next time we will have the opportunity to hop on the sled and be taken around Denali…now that would be a cool experience!
Have you watched dog sledding teams in action before?