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.
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!
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.
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
- 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
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.
- 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 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.
- 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 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 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 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 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.
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!
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?