This blog post was written before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when physical distancing and other COVID health and safety protocols were not in effect. The businesses and communities featured in this article may be once again welcoming visitors but please double check as some are only open with limited operations and others have not yet reopened.
For Indigenous people in the north, dog sleds provide not just transportation and companionship, but a way of life. While snowmobiles now offer an alternate mode of transportation across the snow and ice, dogsledding remains an important tradition. Dogsled teams are still used today as an effective and efficient way to get places, go on hunting expeditions, and recreation whether you train to race, or head out for fun!
There are many Indigenous tourism businesses which include the dogsledding tradition as an experience for visitors, here are just a few that we know about from across Northern Canada.
Wapusk Adventures offers dogsledding and birdwatching in a northern wilderness setting in Churchill, Manitoba. Their dogsled tours feature custom-built sleds pulled by the friendliest, hardest-working huskies in Churchill.
Wapusk Adventures offers trips in Churchill’s three major tourist seasons – summer safaris (June – August), northern lights (February – March) and polar bear (October – November), when visitors come to experience the famous “IDIDAMILE” route, weaving through the beautiful boreal forest. In the summer, Wapusk Adventures also offer a birdwatching experience, where guests travel up the beautiful Churchill River in the “River Dog” an 18-foot Transport Canada-approved jet boat. This tour is your best bet to find the rare Ross’s Gull and you may also see Little Gulls, Sabine’s Gulls, Bald Eagles, Osprey, Golden Eagles, and Tundra Swans, plus other birds of interest.
Located in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Aurora Village is a world-renowned northern lights viewing operation. The ‘village’ is setup with twenty one teepees, complete with a warm wood stove and hot drinks for guests to stay cozy while taking a break from gazing up at the night sky.
While the aurora borealis is the main draw for visitors, from November to April, Aurora Village transforms into a daytime winter wonderland offering snowshoeing and dog sledding.
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An incredible display of northern lights over @auroravillageca in Yellowknife, Canada. . Photo: Kwon O Chul Astrophotography (Facebook) . #IndigenousCanada #explorecanada #teepee #tipi #spectacularnwt #auroraborealis #auroras #aurora #northernlights #supreme_nightshots #nightshots #nightphotography #nightsky #nwt
Arctic Bay Adventures
Arctic Bay Adventures‘ feature package is ‘Life of the Floe Edge’, a unique experience of camping for five days at a destination that few ever have the chance to explore: the floe edge of Admiralty Inlet, at the north end of Baffin Island in Canada’s Arctic.
May and June offer a brief window where life abounds in the 24-hour sun. Inuit guides lead guests on an adventure along the Floe Edge for days of discovery by dog sled and ski-doo, to see a variety of sea birds, polar bears, narwhal, seals and possibly beluga and bowhead whales.
Enodah Wilderness Travel
In summer, go fishing for “monster pike” on Great Slave Lake and come away with one of the biggest trophies in the world. In fall and winter, spend hours gazing up at the blazing aurora borealis as it dances across the northern sky and drive your own dogsled during the day. Regardless of when you visit Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Enodah Wilderness Travel has an exceptional northern experience waiting.
The Enodah Kennel was started in 2015 with a mission to provide quality dogsled tours while never sacrificing the wellbeing of their dogs. Enjoy the peaceful Boreal Forest by way of dogsled on the ‘Drive Your Own Sled’ tour before enjoying some one-on-one time with the happy huskies who are let loose to interact and play with guests.
Blue Sky Expeditions
Join Blue Sky Expeditions dog sled adventures in Churchill, Manitoba for an authentic experience, hosted by owner/operator Gerald Azure. In the summer the team pulls you on wheels, and in the winter on sleds, and afterward you will join Gerald and a special furry friend for stories over tea and bannock. Guests wanting the full experience can also stay at the Blue Sky Bed & Sled, the only dogsledding B&B we’ve been able to find in the world!
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Thanks #GeraldAzure for sharing your family history of trapping, fishing and how you used sled dogs as your primary form of transportation when you were growing up! #blueskyexpeditions #lazybearexpeditions @cangeo @thephotosociety @travelmanitoba @natgeocreative @natgeo #explorecanada #exploremb #cangeo #nature #instagood #naturelovers #wildlifephotography #enjoycanada #canadiancreatives #canadasworld