Ididaride Sled Dog Tours
mushing is one of the more famous and popular Alaskan
sports. Once a critical mode of
transportation, with the advent of snow machines and ski planes the role of dog
teams has changed to an international sport.
Competitors from as far away as Scandinavia and the southern tip of South
America come to compete in world championship sled dog races, the most famous of
which is the 1,100 mile race between Anchorage and Nome.
The Seavey family is a third generation Iditarod competition team. During the summer they support and train the dogs using
tourists as muscle building weight on summer sleds.
Ididaride tours is located on the outskirts of Seward.
From Seward, head north toward Anchorage on the Seward Highway for about
3 and a half miles. Take a left on the Exit Glacier Road. Almost immediately take a right on Old Exit Glacier Road.
Drive 1.1 miles and look for the sign and turnoff on the right side of
tour begins with a history of dog sledding in Alaska.
Then the group is split up into smaller groups of approximately seven
people each. The groups are taken over to the area where the dogs are
kenneled. Groups rotate between
taking a ten to fifteen minute run on a summer buggy sled pulled by 14 – 16
dogs, visiting the whelping kennels for an opportunity to hold, pet and pose
with the new puppies, and learning about the Iditarod race itself at a
presentation stage where mushers who actually run the Iditarod describe the
experience and answer questions about the race.
The whole tour takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.
There are five tours each day, seven days a week.
The tours begin at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5:45pm.
The season runs from May 13 through the end of September.
After that the dogs must begin the even more rigorous training over
greater distances and longer times, but pulling less weight.
tours including the ride on the summer sled is $39 per adult, $19 for children
(ages 2-11), and free for kids under 2. For
just a kennel tour without the ride on the sled, the cost is $20 for adults and
$10 for children. Ididaride also
offers a longer tour from 11am to 5pm includes a tour of Seward, a trip up to
Exit Glacier and lunch at the Resurrection Roadhouse in addition to the kennel
tour and ride. This tour costs $116
for adults and $71.50 for children. Also,
for those in Anchorage, Ididaride will arrange train transportation to and from
Seward for an additional cost. Prices
are subject to an additional sales tax. Reservations
are recommended for these trips, especially during the peak season between June
7 and August 31.
The tour mostly stays outdoors. There is a gift shop where admission can be purchased if you
have not made advance reservations. There
is a portapotty, but no indoor facilities.
The tour ends back at the gift shop where we each received a dog snow
is a totally safe tour and fun for any age.
We were not required to sign any liability waiver or release and the
guide made sure we were not in danger from any of the animals.
In fact, the dogs we met were extremely well trained and seemed to love
the attention of people. When the
ride was over we were encouraged to go pet each dog and given them encouragement
and reward for running a good pull. We were especially impressed with the tour
guides knowledge of the Iditarod race, as several had run it, some of them
multiple times. We learned quite a
bit about the breeding of champion race dogs and it cleared up a lot of
misconceptions we had. We were
surprised that the large Malamute and Siberian Huskies are not used in the race,
but rather breeds that are sleeker and built to run long distances and have
extremely dense (but not necessarily long) fur.
The dogs were obviously well taken care of and they loved
to run and pull. Each time
the handlers hooked up a sled the dogs would bark and do everything to get
attention in hopes of being selected for the team.
The handlers had printed a rotation for the day to show which dogs would
pull which sleds. Every day a dog
will be exercised 3 to 5 times pulling tourists on the sleds.
The kennels were exceptionally well cleaned.
Even though there is still that typical dog smell, there was no feces
lying around and several of the crew were responsible for continually cleaning
up after the dogs. The dogs are
impressive and can really rip it up through the forest on the trails.
Click here for contact information on Ididaride Sled Dog Tours.
Last visited May 2002.