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5 outdoor adventures where dogs get their day

  • COURTESY MUDDY PAW SLED DOG KENNEL
                                Home to nearly 80 sled dogs, Muddy Paw Kennel in Jefferson, N.H., conducts 
year-round recreational dog sledding tours. During the snowless seasons, their mushers use rolling dog sleds.

    COURTESY MUDDY PAW SLED DOG KENNEL

    Home to nearly 80 sled dogs, Muddy Paw Kennel in Jefferson, N.H., conducts year-round recreational dog sledding tours. During the snowless seasons, their mushers use rolling dog sleds.

Whoa! (That’s genuine musher speak.) Take time to learn about the animals and commands that are part of a dog sled adventure in a scenic winter destination. Here are five to consider.

Paradise Valley, Mont.

Energetic Alaskan Huskies will pull your sled through the snowy wonderland of the Absaroka Mountain wilderness east of Montana’s scenic Paradise Valley. Layer up and choose a half- or full-day adventure. Your family will learn how to encourage these enthusiastic animals along the trail. For those who want to learn more, a three-day mushing school is offered. Later, relax in the steamy waters at Chico Hot Springs Resort or take a horse-drawn carriage from the historic inn.

Contact: VisitMT.com; chicohotsprings.com

McMillan, Mich.

Meet seven-time Iditarod finisher Ed Stielstra, his wife, Tasha, also a competitor, and their team of top-notch Alaskan huskies at Nature’s Kennel. Drive a dog team or relax in the sled through the pristine wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Take off for a 10- or 20-mile sledding trip or overnight with your team for a star-filled adventure during which the kiddos can help care for the dogs. Add to the winter fun with snow tubing, skiing or snowshoeing to the ice caves in nearby Marquette. All-inclusive packages are available.

Contact: natureskennel.com; PureMichigan.com

Quebec, Canada

A traditional form of transportation in the Great White North, dog sledding remains popular throughout the snowy regions of Quebec. Choose a tour that lasts several hours or several nights, offering fantastic views as your glide past lakes, around mountains and through the forests. A guided, seven-night adventure will give you the chance to sleep in a tepee, a rustic cabin or in more luxurious digs. For those ready to expend a little more energy, try ski pulka, a combination of dog sledding and cross-country skiing.

Contact: quebecoriginal.com

Fairbanks, Alaska

Journey aboard Alaska Railroad’s Aurora Winter Train to see the snow-covered Last Frontier and embark on a dog-sledding voyage. Travel from Fairbanks to Coldfoot, near the Gates of the Arctic National Park, to learn about caring for a sled team above the Arctic Circle. In the summer, helicopter in to the majestic Chugach Mountains and onto Punch Bowl Glacier to enjoy a scenic ride powered by sled dogs.

Contact: alaskarailroad.com; travelalaska.com

Troy and Jefferson, N.H.

Meet the sled dogs from the Muddy Paw Kennel while staying at the Inn at East Hill Farm, a working farm in Troy, N.H. The farm offers a special Sled Dog Weekend from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2. With Mount Monadnock as your backdrop, help harness the team ahead of a thrilling ride into the woods. Throughout your stay, hang out with the animals, pet the bunnies, collect eggs, groom the pony and help milk the cow and goat. The all-inclusive experience includes three meals and an extensive list of family-friendly activities. Muddy Paw Kennel in Jefferson, N.H., offers year-round dog sledding adventures and lists nearby lodging suggestions on its website.

Contact: dogslednh.com; east-hill-farm.com

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