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Dog Sledding in Colorado

Dog Sledding in Colorado: 9 Great Options for Winter Adventures

Imagine gliding through a winter wonderland, snowflakes dancing around, with a team of exuberant dogs leading the way. This isn’t just a scene from a holiday movie—it’s the exhilarating experience of dog sledding, a unique adventure that you can enjoy right in the heart of Colorado. In this guide, we’ll explore what makes dog sledding in Colorado a must-try winter activity and how you can make the most of it.

Table of Contents

The Magic of Dog Sledding

Dog sledding has a rich history, with roots tracing back to Arctic indigenous cultures. Originally a means of transportation, it has evolved into a beloved winter sport. The bond between the musher (that’s you!) and the sled dogs is at the heart of this experience. These dogs are not just pets; they are athletes, bred for endurance and a love for running in the snow.

What to Expect from a Dog Sledding Adventure

A typical dog sledding journey begins with an introduction to your team of huskies. You’ll learn about the sled, the gear, and the unique personalities of each dog. Safety is paramount, so expect a briefing on how to handle the sled and communicate with your canine team. It’s a hands-on experience that combines the thrill of gliding over snow with the joy of interacting with these amazing animals.

Preparing to Go Dog Sledding in Colorado

Here are some tips to get ready for dog sledding in Colorado, should you decided to go:

  • Dress warmly in layers, as Colorado’s winter can be chilly.
  • Waterproof outerwear, gloves, and thermal boots are essentials.
  • Check the weather and consider re-scheduling if conditions look poor.
  • While physical fitness is an advantage, dog sledding is generally accessible to all.
  • Familiarize yourself with basic commands like “Hike” (go), “Whoa” (stop), and “Gee” (turn right).
Learn how to stay safe with our comprehensive mountain safety guide.

7 Top Dog Sledding Experiences in Colorado

Each of these providers is vetted through research and reviews to ensure the quality of their offering and their treatment of their dogs and staff.

1. Steamboat Dog Sledding

  • Offers a half-day adventure along a 12.5-mile backcountry trail.
  • Pricing: $300 per guest over 80 lbs, $175 per guest under 80 lbs, $50 per lap child (2 yr olds).
  • Tours run 7 days a week from approximately December 1st through the first week of April.
  • Includes shuttle pickup and drop-off from Steamboat for $25/person.
  • Website: Steamboat Dog Sledding

2. Mountain Musher Dog Sled Rides

  • Located minutes from Vail in Wolcott, Colorado.
  • Offers a 5.5-mile, one and one-half hour ride.
  • Pricing: One dog sled costs $550.00.
  • Operates December through March.
  • Morning and afternoon tours available.
  • Website: Mountain Musher

3. Durango Dog Ranch

  • Offers two daily trips with three sleds per time slot.
  • Sled fits two people or 375 pounds.
  • Tours leave from base camp kennel at their Ranch in Hesperus, Trails in Mancos, or Molas Pass.
  • Two-hour tours including a mushing lesson and hot drink by the fire.
  • Website: Durango Dog Ranch

4. Good Times Adventures

  • 6-mile tour along the Swan River Valley.
  • Pricing: $180.00 per person.
  • Strict weight limit of 275 pounds per person.
  • Reservations required, no refunds within 24 hours of the scheduled trip.
  • Website: Good Times Adventures

5. Alpine Adventures Dogsledding

  • Offers Tagsled and Group Tours every day all season.
  • Tagsled Tour: $265 each for ages 9 & up, $195 each for kids ages 3-8.
  • Group Tour: $175 each for ages 9 & up, $150 each for kids 3-8, $995 for a private group tour (up to 6 people).
  • Website: Alpine Adventures Dogsledding

6. Monarch Dog Sled Rides

  • Offers a 30-35 minute dogsled ride through the national forest.
  • Small Sled pricing: $275-$375; Big Sled: $400-$525.
  • Participants must be at least 3 years old.
  • Operates daily with multiple tour times.
  • Website: Monarch Dog Sled Rides

7. Mountain Paws Dog Sled Rides

  • Drive a team for 6.5 miles through the backcountry in a 2.5-hour experience.
  • Morning (9AM) and afternoon (1PM) tours available.
  • Pricing: $195 per person over 80 lbs, $120 per child under 80 lbs, $45 per toddler under 2 yrs.
  • They also offer an Extended Scenic Tour, a more intensive experience driving a dog team for 22 miles over roughly 6 hours, including a sandwich lunch. Price: $495 per person.
  • Website: Mountain Paws Dog Sledding

8. Snow Buddy Sled Dog Adventures

  • Offers a drive-your-own-team or fully-guided experience on Dunckley Pass in the Little Flat Tops.
  • Guests can participate in everything from harnessing to taking care of the dogs.
  • Different formats include one driver-one passenger teams, or a double driver sled for odd-numbered groups.
  • Pricing and specific details can be found on their website.
  • Website: Snow Buddy Sled Dog Adventures

9. YMCA of the Rockies - Snow Mountain Ranch

  • Provides short, 2-mile rides lasting 15 minutes, perfect for beginners, costing $35 per person.
  • Longer, 30-minute rides through Snow Mountain Ranch property for a more in-depth experience, costing $125 per ride.
  • Both rides can hold one adult and one child.
  • Available on select days of the week.
  • Website: Snow Mountain Ranch

Practicing Responsible Dog Sledding

Choosing a dog sledding provider that treats its animals with care and respect is crucial. Look for signs of healthy, well-fed dogs that are energetic and eager to run. Ethical providers will also be transparent about their animal welfare practices and environmental sustainability efforts.

Beyond the Sled – Other Winter Activities in Colorado

Colorado is a playground for winter enthusiasts. From skiing and snowboarding in Aspen to snowshoeing in the Rocky Mountains, there’s no shortage of activities to complement your dog sledding adventure. Consider soaking in a natural hot spring after your day with the dogs, a perfect way to relax and unwind.

Conclusion: Dog Sledding in Colorado

Dog sledding in Colorado offers a unique blend of adventure, culture, and connection with nature. It’s more than just a ride; it’s an immersive experience that leaves lasting memories. As you plan your trip, remember to respect both the environment and the animals that make this incredible journey possible.

Have you ever been dog sledding, or is it on your bucket list? Share your experiences or questions in the comments below. For more guides on Colorado’s outdoor adventures, keep following our blog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does it cost to go dog sledding in Colorado?

A: The cost of dog sledding in Colorado varies depending on the provider and tour specifics. Generally, prices range from $175 to $550 per person, with certain tours offering per-sled pricing. Specialized tours, like extended scenic tours, can be more expensive. Always check with individual providers for the most accurate pricing.

A: Yes, Colorado offers a variety of dog sledding experiences. From scenic backcountry trails to family-friendly adventures, there are multiple options across the state, including popular areas like Steamboat Springs, Vail, and the San Juan Mountains.

A: While Aspen itself may not have dog sledding operators, nearby areas in Colorado offer dog sledding adventures. Operators in close proximity include those in Vail and the surrounding regions, easily accessible from Aspen.

A: Tipping for dog sledding is similar to other service-based activities. Generally, a tip of 10-20% of the tour cost is appreciated if you’re pleased with the service. For exceptional experiences, you might consider tipping more.

A: A team of 5-8 sled dogs is typically used to pull a sled with one or two passengers. The exact number can depend on the weight of the passengers, the trail conditions, and the individual dogs’ strength and endurance.

A: Dog sledding is often described as an exhilarating and unique experience. It combines the thrill of gliding through snowy landscapes with the joy of interacting with sled dogs. Participants frequently report a sense of adventure, connection with nature, and a newfound appreciation for the skill of mushing.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

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