Dog Sledding

Dog Sledding in Vail Colorado

Dog sledding in Vail, Colorado is a truly magical, unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Feel the rush of the sled and powerful pull of the team of Huskies as you glide through hushed Aspen glades and beautiful, snowy, rolling meadows with breathtaking views. Here is a list of local dogsled companies, complete with videos, that operate in and around Vail.

Perfect for the whole family, dog sledding is a great way to experience the wilderness and truly become immersed in the Colorado backcountry experience.

Dog sled tours generally run from December through April depending on snow conditions.

For more information click on the name of the outfitter to be taken directly to their website.


See Also: Dog Joring Equipment


Dog Sledding in Vail Colorado


Types of Tours

Most tours are either Guided, Drive-Your-Own-Team or a mix of the two.

  • Guided Tours – Perfect for those who want to sit back and enjoy the ride while letting a driver or “musher” stands behind you and control the team and sled while telling you about the dogs, the equipment and the beautiful environment that surrounds you.
  • Drive-Your-Own-Team Tours – Perfect for “hands on” experience. Get out there and try your hand at mushing your own team of dogs, so exhilarating!

Tour Times

Tours range from one hour, two hours, half-day, and full-day tours.

What to Expect

  • Sleds usually carry two guests at a time with an experienced musher at the helm.
  • Most tours cover 5-10 miles.

Photo Packages

Most companies offers a photo package for an additional charge and/or offer lots of photo ops for you to capture your adventure.

What to Wear

Dog sledding can be cold,  like, very cold, you must dress appropriately. Some outfitters may offer snowmobile suits for additional warmth but plan on dressing warmly in case they don’t offer this or don’t have your size.

10 Dogsledding Essentials:

  • Goggles or sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Neck gaiter or scarf
  • Wool or fleece base layers – NO COTTON
  • Fleece tops and pants, wool sweaters
  • Water resistant ski jacket and snow pants
  • Winter wool socks
  • Insulated winter boots
  • Mittens or gloves
  • Hand and toe warmers

Cost

Dogsledding is a once in a lifetime adventure, and it is not inexpensive, tour prices usually start around $200 per adult for a 2-hour tour. It is expensive but keep in mind that there is a lot of cost in regard to keeping and maintaining a dogsled operation.

For example, most outfitters only run 4 months per year, yet they need to provide the daily needs for all of their 60+ dogs year-round. Dogs require a safe and secure kennel, food, water, medications, waste removal, exercise love and care 365 days a year.

Other Details

  • You can dogsled as a single (although it may be slightly more expensive and you may be put in a sled with another single person), as a couple, as a family or as a larger group.
  • There is usually a price discount for children under 9 years old.
  • There is usually a weight limit for sleds maxing out around 300-400 lbs
  • Pregnant women are not allowed
  • There is a minimum age for children but it varies by outfitter. 

Mountain Mushers

Mountain Mushers is the nearest dog sledding outfitter to Vail, Colorado and they have been running tours since 1989. They run on a beautiful, private trail in Wolcott about 20 miles west of Vail.

The trail is adventurous and exhilarating and scenic and because it is private, it is free of snowmobiles or any other type of traffic except for other dog sledders. Seeing a sled pulled by a team of 10-12 huskies is an awesome sight to behold!

These guided tour are exciting as the dogs run several parts of the trail and go up and down a mountain. Most dog sled companies use a flatter trail so the dogs just go at a fast walk through the entire trip.

Two morning and afternoon tours are available daily. Tours include a break halfway through with hot drinks, snacks and great photo opportunities.

Mountain Mushers has been featured on Colorado Getaways, The Learning Channel, and The Today Show.

Additional details:

  • They run six sleds at a time, with up to sixty dogs on the trail, perfect for amazing photos.
  • The trail is 6 miles and takes about two hours to complete.
  • They provide warm blankets and pillows


Winterhawk Dogsled Adventures

Winterhawk Dogsled Adventures is located in Leadville, so it is a little bit more of drive, but because they are located at a higher elevation, their dog sledding season is usually longer than here in the Vail Valley.

Located in a pristine forest with panoramic views, this tour offers tons of opportunities for your guide to teach you how to drive a sled of your own and gives you a chance to try your hand at this unique experience

Along the trail, photographers will snap photos of you and the dogs with a backdrop of Mt. Elbert, the tallest peak in Colorado. These gorgeous pictures are the perfect souvenir to remember your adventure and share with friends!

After your tour relax in their warm, cozy, furnished office and review your photos, while relaxing with a complimentary warm drink and snacks, and browse the gift shop area.

Take the kennel tour and learn all about the daily life of a sled dog and meet and pet the pack. They have more than have 60 gorgeous Alaskan Huskies including several Iditarod competitors, each dog has its own personality!


Good Times Adventures

Good Times Adventures is located in Breckenridge, Colorado and is the only snowmobile and dog sledding tour operator in Summit County.

Their lodge is located just a few miles from downtown Breckenridge and is an easy drive from Vail or Beaver Creek.

They offer a unique and interactive type of dogsled tour. The Relay Tour can handle up to 6 people, and is run as a “relay” where guests switch off between running the dogs, riding in the dogsled, and riding on a small passenger sleigh with the guide.

You will be out with your guide on the dogsled for about an hour, stopping along the way for everyone to trade places. The guests riding in the snowmobile sleigh can take great photos and video of those on the dog sled. Learn how to run a sled and how to drive the beautiful Siberian Huskies on your team.

Established in 1986, Good Times Adventures is the locals’ favorite and the #1 ranked activity in Breckenridge on TripAdvisor

Come enjoy the Thrill of Dog sledding!


Snow Buddy Sled Dog Adventures

Snow Buddy Sled Dog Adventures operates out of Dunckley Pass in the Little Flat Tops near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They offer three unique adventures:

Half-Day Learn To Mush Tour 9am-1pm

Learn to drive a dog team and how to harness and hook up the team! The trip takes place on a scenic back country trail, stopping at a wall tent secluded deep in the Routt National Forest. Here the dogs rest while you enjoy complimentary homemade snacks and hot drinks and breathtaking views. This is the perfect place for photos.

Full-Day Learn To Mush Tour

If you are really ready to immerse yourself into dog sledding, this is the tour for you. Perfect for a small group of people. Learn about everything from driving the sled down the trail to comprehensive canine care. Return to the kennel after the trip to tour their facility. Enjoy views of the Flat Tops, Zirkel Wilderness Area, and the Steamboat Ski Resort!

Guided Dinner Dog Sled Ride

An exclusive, always-private, guided, nighttime dog sled ride that takes couples to a rustic camp located in the Little Flat Tops for a gourmet dinner. This is an especially unique activity during a full moon! A variety of food options are offered and individual needs and preferences can be accommodated. After dinner, enjoy dessert with a warm drink and then load up in the sled to head back out on the night trail.


Alpine Adventures Dog Sledding

Alpine Adventures is located in Leadville, Colorado. They offer two types of tours; the Tag Sled Tour and the less expensive Group Tour.

Tag Sled Tours

This daily tours covers about 6 miles and can seat 1-4 people with a maximum weight limit of 600 lbs. You are on the trail for about 1 hour

Two dog sleds are pulled by a larger group of 10-12 dogs. The guide is on the front dogsled with up to 2 riders and the second dogsled will have one person driving and one person riding. You have the opportunity to drive, ride and control a larger team.

Group Dog Sled/Snowmobile Tours

The Group Tour runs daily, with multiple departure times and covers about 6 miles. This tour is approximately $100 per adult and you are on the trail for about an hour.

Each sled can accommodate up to 6 adults. Two people ride on the dogsled at a time, one driving the dog sled, one riding in the basket, while the other guests ride on a sleigh that is pulled by the guide on a snowmobile out in front of the dog team.

Sleds stop along the way to switch out drivers and riders so that all adults get an opportunity to drive the dog sled and ride in the basket.

Kennel Tours

After your dog sled ride, enjoy a 45-minute narrated kennel tour about

  • Rescue and placement activities with active racing kennels
  • The differences between Alaskan vs. Siberian Huskies
  • Basic kennel set up
  • Exercise & training regimes
  • The sled dog diet


Be warned, once you spend the day learning how to drive a dog sled team you are going to go home and want to do this with your own medium to large-size dog. It’s just natural, and what’s awesome, is your dog will be up for it! So take your new-found dog sledding expertise and check out these dog joring items so you can safely ski or bike behind your own dog as they pull you! Have a blast!


Comments Dog Sled

Have you ever gone dog sledding in Vail, Colorado? What is your favorite memory about dog sledding? Have you ever had your own dog pull you on skis or on your bike? What advice would you give to people who want to go dog sledding or dog joring?


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20 Comments

  • Ola

    I have heard about dog sledding in Vail, Colorado before but I really loved reading all about it. I am older and housebound now, so I am unable to participate in this adventure or any of the others you write about but I do love reading your articles, watching the videos and imagining doing the fun activities you write about.  I have subscribed to your website and love receiving your posts every week.  Thank you for making feel like I am in the middle of all the action even when I can’t be.  Keep up the good work and keep writing great articles about exciting activities.

    • ThinkVail

      Hi Ola, and thank you so much for your wonderful words, you have made my day.  I am so happy you enjoy the articles and thank you for subscribing to the TinkVail website.  You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest, if you are interested. I will think of you when writing the next adventure post!

  • Henry

    Hi! This is really exciting. I have never gone dog sledding before but I’m looking forward to my trip to Colorado. Thanks for warning us about how cold it can be to dress appropriately.

    This experience must help us understand how people felt 100 years ago when this type of transportation was common. That’s cool! I’ll also have my camera ready. I want to capture this wonderful scenery, do you usually see a lot of wildlife on these trips?

    • ThinkVail

      Hi Henry, thanks for your kind words and question about dog sledding in Vai, Colorado.I hope you have a wonderful time when you come to visit us, in Colorado. Yes it can be very cold when you go dog sledding, it pays to wear multiple layers and stay warm. If you need help choosing what to wear for a trip like this, check out the article Winter Hiking Checklist, it will tell you all the best clothing and gear to wear on a winter adventure. In regards to viewing wildlife, you may see some, especially if you are sledding someplace very open, where you can see for miles and miles but in most cases 8-12 Huskies make quite a bit of noise as they are running especially with the guide yelling commands and the dogs howling and barking with excitement.  Most animals will be long gone before your sled reaches them. But bring your camera because you are going to want to capture this!

  • Yormith96

    Thank you for the post about dog sledding in Vail, Colorado.  We will be in the area in the next few weeks and I have a problem.  My wife wants to go dog sledding and I want to go snowmobiling. It is too expensive for both of us to do both,  do you have any suggestions?

    • ThinkVail

      Hello and thank you for your question. Well, I do have an idea that might help.  Good Times Adventures in Breckenridge, CO is the only local outfitter that offers both snowmobiling tours and dog sledding tours. Maybe your wife could do a dog sledding tour while you do a snowmobile tour.  You would not be paying for both of you to do each activity but only paying for the tour each of you would like to do.  I hope this helps.Thanks for reading and leaving a comment on the dog sledding in Vail, Colorado post!

  • ajibola40

    Nice article there on Dog Sledding in Vail Colorado and what to expect on a dog sledding adventure.  My wife and I took a dog sled tours a few years ago when we were on vacation in Montana and it was incredible!  I highly recommend it, it really is a unique adventure.  It was so beautiful, so pristine and being pulled by a group of 10 Huskies was just incredible.  Our tour was a guided tour, so you just sat back while the guide took care of everything, which was fantastic but next time I would be interested in trying my hand at the mushing of the dogs, that was not an option for us when we went last time.

    • ThinkVail

      Thanks for your comments, your adventure in Montana sounds amazing.  I am so glad you had such a wonderful time!  If you ever come to Vail, you will have to try a Learn-to-Mush tour and run the dogs yourself!  

  • Kenechi

    Loved all this information about dog sledding.  My dog and I actually do tons of Canicross in the summer, where I run behind my dog and he pulls me.  I have been thinking of trying dogsledding because I want to see a team of dogs mushing and how it works.  I have been thinking about starting skijoring with my dog, where I ski behind him as he pulls me.  I think a dog sledding tour would teach me a lot about this 

    • ThinkVail

      So glad you liked the info about dog sledding in Vail, Colorado! Yes, I think you would LOVE to go on a dog sledding tour and you would probably learn a ton about both dog sledding and skijoring. Many dogsled outfitters offer the option of Learning-To-Mush, which I would think would be perfect for you.  You could see how the harness works, how to put it on, how to drive dogs, the commands used,everything!  I think this would dovetail with your canicross training and skijoring perfectly- do it!  Also if you want suggestions on how to get started with doggie skijoring check out The Year’s Best Dog Joring Equipment.  It has tips, advice, videos and recommended equipment to get you started!

  • Anthony Hu

    Hello,thanks for all the info about dog sledding in Vail, Colorado.  My whole family is converging on Vail next year for a big week-long, family reunion ski vacation.  We are planning to put all the kids in ski school for three days but I am looking for other activities for everyone on the days off.  Which is the best dog sled outfitter for a big group? Also do you know what are other good activities for family fun while in Vail?  We would love some suggestions.

    • ThinkVail

      Hi Anthony, so glad you enjoyed the information about dog sledding in Vail. Wow your family reunion sounds like so much fun! For dogsledding I would suggest Mountain Mushers since they are only about 10 miles from Beaver Creek ski resort, and they will pick your group up from Beaver Creek so nobody needs to drive!  Also they run six sleds at a time so they can handle a good size group.  For more ideas of family fun in the Vail Valley check out the post Winter Kids Activities in Vail.  Hope this helps and have a wonderful time while you are visiting.

  • Vapz

    Thanks for all the information about dog sledding in Vail, Colorado.  I am really interested in this activity but it seems so expensive is there any options that are cheaper? $200 per person seems a little steep. Especially for a family of four. Thanks for any additional info you can provide.

    • ThinkVail

      Hi Vapz, thanks for the question. Unfortunately, dog sledding is just an expensive activity.  Dog sled operators need to make enough money in four months to cover the expenses of an entire year. If you want to try it out without paying quite so much, I would suggest Alpine Adventures Dog Sledding because they offer a less expensive Group Tour.  Instead of the usual 2-3 persons per sled, the sleds on the Group Tour holds 6 adults, so you may be on a sled with people you don’t know. Because each sled holds more people, the cost is less, about $100 per person.  This might be a good option for you.  

  • Henry

    We will be visiting Vail in March with our son who is 13 years old.  It is of course, a ski vacation but we are planning to take a day or two off from skiing to do other activities. We are really interested in dog sledding but are not sure if it is suitable for a child.  What do you suggest? He loves dogs.

    • ThinkVail

      Hi Henry, yes I think this can be a GREAT activity for kids as long as you keep it to an hour or two hour tour.  I would not do an all-day tour or a nighttime dog sled tour.  Make sure you ALL dress warmly definitely bring a gaiter, ski helmet, goggles and mittens with hand warmers, snow pants and ski jacket.   March can be quite sunny and warm but we also have fierce storms, sometimes both in the same afternoon. If any of you get really cold the activity will not be nearly as fun but you can always remove layers if you get too warm. After the tour, most outfitters let you tour the kennels and visit and play with the dogs so if your kiddo loves dogs he would probably be love this, sometimes there are even puppies! If you need help with appropriate clothing and gear for winter outdoor adventures check out Winter Hiking Checklist

  • Ayodeji

    Umm, I have a question about your dog sledding in Vail, Colorado.  All of the Dog Sledding companies you mention are not actually in Vail.  They are in Wolcott, Leadville, Steamboat and Breckenridge.  Are there any dog sledding companies actually located in Vail? How far away are all of these companies from Vail?

    • ThinkVail

      Hello Ayodeji, great question.  No, there are no dog sledding companies right in Vail, Colorado.  Dog sled companies need at least 6-10 miles to run the dogs, as well as a large kennel area, so you need to get out of the resort area to find that much land that is not already dedicated to skiing and snowboarding. Wolcott is 20 miles from Vail and only 10 miles from Vail’s sister ski resort Beaver Creek.  Leadville is 49 miles from Vail, Breckenridge is 48 miles from Vail and Steamboat is about 2 hours from Vail.  

  • Paul

    Hi I live in Denver and am planning on asking my my fiance to marry me in Vail.  I have been trying to plan something very unique and different.  I really liked the idea of asking her to marry me on a dog sledding adventure.  What are your thoughts about this? I definitely want something private and plenty of time to ask her and to  celebrate. 

    • ThinkVail

      Hi Paul, oh I love that idea of proposing while on a dogsled adventure, it sounds fabulous! In this case, my choice would be Snow Buddy Sled Dog Adventures because of their private dinner sleigh ride.  It would just be the two of you and you take a dogsled to a rustic camp and enjoy a gourmet dinner, I would suggest doing this during a full moon and in late February through the end of March just because the nighttime temps are more milder that time of year.  I would definitely call the outfitter and tell them what you are thinking, I am sure they will have lots of ideas and recommendations to make your proposal perfect and unforgettable.  I think this would be an amazing way to start your lives together. 

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