What’s more Alaskan than staying in a yurt? How about a yurt located at the kennel of professional sled dog racing champion—Nic Petit? That’s what you’ll get at The Alaska Dogstead in Big Lake, which has 3 spacious, heated yurts that come with kitchenettes and half-bathrooms, making them ideal year-round.
Situated about an hour’s drive north of Anchorage in the iconic Matanuska-Susitna Valley, the yurts make for a great base camp or a fantastic stop if you’re en route to Talkeetna, Denali, or Fairbanks.
Plus, since you’ll be staying on the property with champion musher Nic Petit, it’s super convenient to book an add-on tour and learn what sled dog racing is all about. Pet the prize-winning Alaskan Huskies and then feel the wind in your hair as you go mushing with views of the Chugach and Alaska mountains. In summer, you’ll ride in wheeled carts; when there’s enough snow, you’ll travel Iditarod-style—on dog sleds!
Back at the yurts, you may be visited by some of the retiree dogs, who roam around soliciting pets from the yurt guests. The yurts are built in a traditional circular design with latticed wood poles and covered with waterproof fabric and insulation. Inside, you’ll find comfy beds for up to 5 people set up in an open floor plan with high ceilings. There’s also a wood stove and gas heater, making for the perfect retreat in winter or on any chilly day.
Each yurt also has a bathroom with a toilet (the nearby market has showers you can use). There’s also a kitchenette, with everything you need to whip up a home-cooked meal (stovetop, toaster, coffee pot, sink, and all cookware). Enjoy your creations inside or take them out to the shared space, where you’ll find a picnic table and firepit. Not a cook? No problem—there are also restaurants close by.
Choose the Eureka Yurt, Willow Yurt, or Kobuk Yurt which all have a queen bed and bunk bed that will sleep up to 5.
During the day, there’s lots to do in the area—after you’re done dog mushing, of course! Summer features great hiking along private trails that wind their way to gorgeous Fish Creek. Or take advantage of aptly named Big Lake, where you can go swimming or rent Jet Skis, pontoon boats, kayaks, and wakeboards. For locals, the Alaska Sailing Club offers classes and regattas all summer long.
In winter, there’s great ice fishing, snow machining, and cross-country skiing. In addition to going dog sledding, you can also watch Nic and other mushers as they compete in races like the Knik 200, Willow 300, and of course the Iditarod. Or just relax in your cozy up in the yurt and go in search of the northern lights at night!