To pick your own friendly dogs, harness them up, position them just so in front of a sled, and then let them freely run to their hearts content while you take in the scenery. Imagine all this. Now imagine it in the quiet beauty of one of the most remote places on earth. I don’t know about you, but for me, it has been something I have wanted to do for years.
It has been said time and time again, experiences, not possessions, are the most memorable and the most meaningful. To travel is more than seeing the sights; it is to interact with them. Add in half a dozen cute dogs and some of the most unreal scenery in the world; you’ll definitely have a trip you and your loved ones will never forget.
Dog sledding is not considered a traditional mode of transport of the Norwegians. This method was mainly used by the indigenous people from Greenland and Siberia. Luckily, Norwegians realized sledding was a great way to get around their icy wilderness and is now an activity that can be enjoyed in a number of locations in Northern Norway.
What to expect
The most common trips are half day to full day excursions with a dog sled team. This means getting picked up at your lodging in the morning or afternoon, being transported to where the dogs live, and getting to know all of them. You then split up into your groups, and harness (if you want to) the dogs that will be pulling your sled. After a brief instruction, you are off to enjoy the quiet surreal beauty of Norway. There will be stops along the journey to let the dogs rest, for you to take beautiful pictures or trade positions for someone else to mush the dogs, and to give them water.
Different companies might offer other types of trips, given the weather conditions and guest request. Some of these options are: longer sightseeing trips, using more dogs to pull wagons of people or cars along the scenic routes, to multi-day excursions up to the mountains and overnight stays in the forest or huts. All dog companies I have conversed with have been exceptionally pleasant and more than happy to try and tailor your experience as you please.
Where to go
The six destinations that are equipped and specialize in dog sledding are listed below.
As arctic as you can get. Unparalleled scenery. The final frontier.
- Svalbard Husky- www.svalbardhusky.no
- Svalbard Villmarkssenter- www.svalbardvillmarkssenter.no
- Basecamp Spitsbergen- www.basecampspitsbergen.com
In addition to dog sledding, it is possible to try reindeer sledding, or overnight Northern Lights and sledding combinations.
- Arctic Adventure Tours – www.arcticadventuretours.no
- Tromsø- Fruiluftsenter- www.tromso-friluftsenter.no
- Tromsø Villmarkssenter – www.villmarkssenter.no
As far north as you can go in continental Europe.
Sami capital of Norway. Activities can range from day trips to an all-inclusive 11 day expedition.
- Engholm’s Husky – www.engholm.no
On the boarder of Russia, the last stop for the Hurtigruten coastal ferry, a final frontier.
- Arctic Adventure – www.arctic-adventure.no
- Birk Husky- www.birkhusky.no
- Sollia Gjestegård- www.storskog.no
Central Norway. Great for if you aren’t traveling farther north.
Understandably, the majority of locations are located in the arctic north. The dogs thrive in their natural environment, as well as are best equipped to explore the tundra, letting you experience the raw beauty of the arctic in peace and quiet. Røros, is the exception, located in the middle of the country, it offers those travelers a more accessible option if not traveling up north.
In a country that has so much to offer, it is difficult to narrow down the activities you want to do. Every time I go to Norway I am bursting with itineraries, often pointing to some picture I have seen somewhere and making Even find a way to get us there. He’s a good sport.
In saying this, I can without a doubt tell you dog sledding in Svalbard was one of the best experiences I have had in Norway, and really, most of the world. Even’s favorite part was petting every single one of the 55 dogs in the yard, while mine was taking in the other worldly scenery off the roads of anywhere a car could venture.
(Opening Photo: star5112)
Where do you want to go dog sledding or have you been?