Dog Sledding in Montana's Yellowstone Country
Montana's Yellowstone Country is ideal for dogsledding; vast open terrain, deep snow, and cold temperatures generally allow the season to stretch from December to March each winter. And it's a great way to get deep into the backcountry, taking you to some landscapes you would only sometimes access, particularly in the winter.
Dog sledding became popular in areas such as ours that experience harsh winters. For early settlers, it became a primary means of winter transportation to help deliver mail, food, firewood, furs, mining equipment, gold, and other supplies. While the sleds are no longer needed as vehicles, as a sport, and as a family activity, dog sledding is still going strong.
One thing that makes the sport (and tours) so attractive is the interaction. Time is built into the tours to meet the dogs and spend time with them on the trail. Some companies even allow you to help harness and get the dogs ready! For those who want even more adventure, you can learn to mush and drive the team yourself. (Note, instead of calling out right and left, mushers say, "gee and haw," and to get the team going, most use the term, "all right!")
The dogs used by tour companies in our area are Alaskan Huskies, bred to run and pull sleds. They love their job the way a border collie loves to herd. These dogs are solid and fast, pulling the sled's weight and riders at an average of 9-12 mph. Tours are usually eight to ten miles and last two or three hours.
Most sled companies provide sleeping bags or blankets for riders but be sure to dress in warm layers; wool or silk long underwear, warm wool or fleece layers over that, and ski pants or bibs with a warm coat, hat, and mittens or gloves.
There are four areas in YC where you can go dog sledding, Pray, Big Sky, West Yellowstone, and Gallatin Canyon, so no matter where you're staying, you'll likely be close to the opportunity!
Dog Sled Companies in Montana's Yellowstone Country
Morrison Racing Kennel, Pray, Montana
Located just 45 minutes from Livingston and 15 minutes from Chico Hot Springs, Morrison Racing Kennel tours through the beautiful Mill Creek drainage. These teams of 45 dogs are training for a future Iditarod Trail Sled dog race in Alaska. Tours are generally three hours, but large groups can rent the entire operation for the day. It's a great team-building experience!
Spirit of the North Dog Sled Adventures, Big Sky and West Yellowstone, Montana
In Big Sky, you'll tour the beautiful Moonlight Basin with Lone Mountain and the Spanish Peaks surrounding you. In West Yellowstone, tours go through Gallatin National Forest (dogsledding isn't allowed in Yellowstone National Park) and are sometimes led by Jessie Royer, 2019 and 2020's third-place finisher at the Iditarod!
Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures, Taylor Fork Road, Gallatin Gateway
The Taylor Fork drainage north of Yellowstone is home to many of the same wildlife as Yellowstone. While it's not common to see them while you're with a pack of canines rushing through the forest, it is common to see animals on the drive to and from the base camp. In addition to shorter tours, this company also offers a half-day "Learn to Mush" experience, which is more of an adventure with participants learning to drive their own sled.
Learn more about dogsledding trips in Yellowstone Country.