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Explore the Best Dog sledding in Ontario: Your Ultimate Guide to Winter Fun and Excitement

Explore the Best Dog sledding in Ontario: Your Ultimate Guide to Winter Fun and Excitement


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 presents a singular and unforgettable winter expertise, combining journey, pleasure, and the great thing about the province’s snow-covered landscapes. From the trails of the Haliburton Highlands to the picturesque surroundings of Muskoka and the rugged great thing about Algonquin Park, there isn’t a 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 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 could have ever considered doing a canine sledding expertise, it’s simple 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?

Ethics of Dogsledding in Ontario
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But first, let’s talk about 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 completed ethically and responsibly, dogsledding is just not merciless. We have seen the robust bond between the canine and their mushers at a number of completely different canine sled operations. We have seen that huskies love to run and their homeowners love to run with them!

Is Dogsledding Cruel
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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 a couple of dangerous apples that spoil it for the remainder of the canine mushers who really love their canine and deal with them like household.

The one frequent 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. So much has modified over the years with the canine properly being and security being the most vital elements to these homeowners. Check out our publish The Misconceptions of Dog Sledding

A Brief History of Sled Dogs

History of sled dogs
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Did you understand that canine sledding has a historical past that spans hundreds of years and many various 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 turned a vital technique of transportation.

Dogsledding additionally has a notable place in historical past for its function 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 circumstances, in what turned referred to as the “Great Race of Mercy.”

Dogsledding in Ontario

Best Places For Dog Sledding in Ontario
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“Was this photo taken in Banff?” A reader requested us this once we posted a photograph of our canine workforce from our canine sledding journey in Ontario. Many individuals assume that they’ve to go to Alberta, The Yukon, and even Quebec for canine sledding, however Northern Ontario presents wonderful excursions the place you possibly can drive your personal canine sled workforce and have the journey of a lifetime.

What to Expect on Dog Sledding Trips

What to expect when Dogsledding Ontario
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Dog sled excursions differ in size, expertise, and vacation spot. Most excursions final 3 – 5 hours however you possibly can guide a full-day, half-day, and even in a single day and multi-day excursions. Some guide particular occasions for faculties and companies and all of the operators have one factor in frequent, a love for his or her canine!

Some canine sledding kennels provide 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 night time having fun with home-cooked meals.

All are led by skilled knowledgeable guides who’ve loads of expertise working groups and all of those Ontario.

Your Dog Sledding Adventure

Day Trip Dogsledding Ontario
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Upon arrival, you’ll obtain a brief complete lesson on how to drive and management your sleigh and educate you the fundamentals of dealing with the sled and speaking with the workforce earlier than the workers brings them out from their cozy kennels and begins to hook them onto the sleds.

They will then introduce you to your workforce and it’s possible 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 lively participant. As the canine come out, one in all your two-man workforce has to maintain on to the lead canine to hold it from working over to see what all the different canine are doing.

It’s more durable than you assume to hold them nonetheless. They need to run round, sniff the different groups, and say whats up, they combat with one another, nuzzle their noses in the snow, and yip and yap loads. It’s a high-octane expertise and you haven’t even began but!

Like a pack of wolves, there are completely different hierarchies for sled canine. Lead canine are the heads of the pack that hold 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 workforce takes off, you might be prepared. We noticed many individuals working after their sleds as they have been taken off guard as soon as the workforce began working.

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 canine cool down and get to work wagging their tails as they run by way of the snow-covered trails.

The run normally works with one individual getting on the again of the sled to drive, whereas the different slips beneath a blanket and relaxes in entrance. You can change off all through the day as it may be just a little bit tiring. Dog sled excursions do take a bit of labor, you will have to assist the workforce.

There are solely 5-6 canine on a workforce 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 might simply be solely a passenger letting the skilled guides do all the work as you watch the surroundings go.

Most excursions have a cease the place you possibly can get pleasure from sizzling 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 just a little 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 diverse 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 way of lovely forests. They normally cease at a clearing the place you possibly can take a break get pleasure from some sizzling chocolate and work together with the lovely Siberian Huskies.

Full-day excursions offer you a complete day of dogsledding the place you’ll actually get to know your canine sledding workforce whereas going deeper into the forest of locations like the Haliburton Highlands and Algonquin Provincial Park. The Haliburton Forest is linked to Algonquin Park and it’s merely one in all the most lovely places in Ontario. When a recent snowfall comes down, you are feeling as if you happen to’re in a dream.

Dogs are good and they like being praised as a lot as the remainder of us so we have been always 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 provide a sizzling chili lunch or hamburgers and sizzling canine when 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 workforce 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 determine on a day journey or to do some multi-day canine sledding, you possibly can depend on having a real journey. You may even guide a one-hour taster tour if you happen to like. Regardless of what you guide, you can be certain to adore it. Here are some extremely really useful canine sledding excursions in Ontario.

1. Winterdance Dogsled Tours

Winterdance Dogsledding Tours in Ontairo
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Winterdance Dogsled Tours is a part of Ontario’s signature expertise canine sledding and we have now identified Hank and Tanya for greater than 10 years. Their lovely Siberian Huskies weren’t named the prettiest workforce 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 together with his personal workforce of aggressive Huskies. Folks like us could 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 guide all the pieces from half-day excursions to longer excursions that embrace multi-day outings. They even provide moonlit runs and heli-dogsledding. We have completed a moonlit run with Hank when he was coaching for the Yukon Quest. We spent all night time together 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 outside 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 when 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 method to expertise the winter panorama of Ontario by way of their canine sledding and skijoring adventures. They have an expansive, non-public 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, in addition they provide backcountry ski & snowshoe excursions that you could 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 presents 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 workforce are a high precedence. Alaskan huskies differ from Siberian Huskies as they’re a mixture of completely different breads made for long-distance working. You’ll discover they’re long-legged and long-bodied with a cute and enjoyable persona to go along with it.

Snow Forest Adventures presents 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 comfortable camp cot. Inside the canvas tents, you’ll keep toasty heat with a wooden range to hold 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 pieces being in the wild presents.

4. North Ridge Ranch Muskoka Dogsledding Tours

North Ridge Ranch in the coronary heart of Muskoka has been in operation for greater than 20 years. Owners Brad & Leah Fetterley are keen about dogsledding and their greater than 60 Alaskan Huskies. As with all the dogsledding corporations listed, their workforce’s well-being and happiness is the most vital a part of their enterprise.

North Ridge presents one-hour and half-day excursions. The half-day canine sledding tour takes you on a 20 km journey by way of non-public trails. Tours provide the normal choices of studying how to deal with the sleds, stops in the wilderness and sizzling drinks and snacks. See extra particulars right here.

Where to Stay

Being positioned 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 highway circumstances will be sketchy throughout the winter months and ensure to test your map beforehand.

There is restricted cell protection right here, so in case you are counting on Google Maps, you’ll be in bother.

Dress Warm. You might be out in the chilly for a couple of hours so heat winter clothes is a should. Make certain to have good snow boots and pack some sizzling photographs to your palms 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 counsel packing goggles or UVA Sunglasses and a heat hat and balaclava.

So are prepared to reply the name of the wild and guide your personal winter escape? Instead of watching Netflix on chilly winter days, get outdoors and embrace the snow. You gained’t remorse it.

Plan Your Next Trip to Ontario With These Resources



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