Travelling by the power of dogs is a remarkable experience. Originally used as a means of transport by the Inuit people of the Canadian Arctic and the early settlers of Banff, dogsledding has since been adopted as a recreational activity well suited to the snowy slopes of the Canadian Rockies.
This unique experience can be tranquil at some times, and exhilarating and delightfully chaotic at others. Dogsledding is a must-do activity for any traveller, but especially so for dog-lovers or those wanting to experience a classically Canadian activity. Explore the rich history, culture, and techniques of dogsledding as your musher and dog team guide you through the incredible scenery of the Canadian Rockies.
Each tour begins by spending time meeting and getting to know the team of dogs that will take you into the frozen wilderness. Challenge yourself to remember the dogs’ names – each one plays an integral part of the team and you may make a new furry friend! Then, help your musher get the dogs ready for tour by harnessing and hooking your team up to the sled. Once on the trail, try your hand at mushing your very own team of Alaskan huskies or cocoon yourself in blankets and relax as your experienced musher guides your team through the mountains.
Not only are the dogs incredible, but so too are the highly trained mushers. Ask your guide about the history, techniques, and subtleties of dogsledding – they are extremely knowledgeable and the close relationships between musher and dogs are especially engaging.
Several dogsledding companies operate in Banff and Lake Louise, each offering a variety of tours ranging from a brisk half-hour jaunt to full-day excursions. Explore the Great Divide trail by venturing to the border of British Columbia and Alberta or cross the frozen expanses of the Spray Lakes with your team of intrepid huskies. Each tour operator will provide warm clothing and blankets to ward off the cold, and, depending on the length of your trip a lunch or hot beverage may be provided.
Tips for the Trail
Although you will be snugged up in the low-slung sled, dress very warmly! Gloves are an absolute essential, as are sturdy winter boots – especially if you’d like to try your hand at mushing your own team.