Go behind the scenes with Iditarod mushers and get your own thrilling ride with the dogs, thanks to this kennel and dog sledding tour out of Seward. Owners Travis Beals and Sarah Stokey offer an independent, hands-on type of tour, with smaller groups—often no more than six people.
Indeed, dog mushing is pretty intimate—the musher interacts with the dogs in intricate, ever-changing ways—so the kennel tour showcases the high-level of training that goes into cultivating a team. You’ll see the dogs listen to the commands and navigate the camp’s series of interconnected trails.
All you need to bring are your camera, sunglasses (especially if you go on the glacier) and flat, closed-toe shoes, which are easier to pair with over-boots than hiking boots. Tours run year-round but vary by season.
Summer Tours from Seward
Summer Dog Demonstration & Cart Ride
Lasting a little more than an hour, this is a fun, fast, and zippy tour with lots of turns—proof that the dogs are always making decisions. You’ll start with some hands-on time in the kennel, seeing how the dogs get trained and learn their commands. You’ll meet and pet the dogs, then go for a ride, seeing up close that connection between musher and dog. The groups can be as big as 15, but tend to be about six people. (Finding yourself getting attached? Ask about their adoption program for retired sled dogs).
Helicopter Glacier Dog Sledding
Lasting about 90 minutes, this tour includes time at the kennel’s remote camp on Godwin Glacier, at 3,700 feet elevation. You’ll start in Seward, getting outfitted with any gear you might need (rain jackets, rain pants, boots over shoes, parkas) then board the Seward Helicopter Tours helicopter (also owned by Travis and Sarah) for the 12-minute flight from the Seward airport to the camp. On the way, you’ll fly over Resurrection Bay, over a beautiful braided river, and up towards Godwin Glacier. There, you’ll be greeted by guides who will teach you about the glacier, introduce you to the dogs, and then show you how to ride. You’ll take a 30-minute dogsled ride around the glacier, stopping along the way for pictures and then taking some time to mingle with the pooches—about an hour total on the glacier before you fly back to Seward.
Winter Magic in Willow
Winter brings its own variety of dog sledding tours, which range from an hour long to multi-day expeditions. The hour-long tours are dependent on the winter weather and trail conditions, but typically take place on a lake near Willow. For longer tours—a full day, overnight, or up to four nights—you can do lodge-to-lodge based mushing in the Willow area with a small group of up to four people. You’ll have access to full gear—parkas and bibs to keep you warm, and insulated shelters that you’ll tow along—but the coolest part is that you’ll get to drive your own dog team.
You don’t need any prior mushing experience—the guides will cover all of that—and these tours make for a big Alaska highlight, no matter which you choose. People often come back for repeat tours, and say this was the coolest thing—or things —they did in Alaska.
Training with the Pros
The owners of the kennel know a lot about dogsledding: Travis Beals has been running dogs his entire life, and Sarah Stokey since 2009. Both are Iditarod finishers (Travis has finished the race four times now, placing 11th one year). Travis and Sarah spend a good part of the year training with their dogs, but since 2012 they have also been sharing their kennel with visitors.