Dog “Sledding” With Muktuk Adventures, Whitehorse

Filed Under: Travel

I love dogs and I love travel…so when I can incorporate dogs into my travel experience, it’s a perfect puppertunity.

Just outside Whitehorse is a place called Muktuk Adventures. In addition to an “off-the-grid” guest ranch/B&B (which would probably be a little too rugged for Ben — actually, I think a Comfort Inn would be too rugged for Ben), they offer guided camping, hiking, canoeing, and, most importantly, dog sledding.

They have about 100 dogs — mostly “Alaskan huskies,” which is not exactly a distinct breed but rather an adorable blend of doggie DNA from various floofers of generations past.

Muktuk offers several multi-day trips, but since we were in Yukon for such a short time, we chose a half-day sled adventure. In September there isn’t any snow on the ground, so the dogs actually pull an ATV instead of a sled.

We booked our tour online — it’s about $100 (Canadian) per person. The website gives some info about the experience, but even so, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect.

The ranch is about a mile down a dirt road. You know you’re almost there before you even see it, because you can hear the dogs barking.

When we arrived, we were greeted by Jeff, who loaned us some snowsuits (it was really cold out — around 25 degrees!). He then told us we could go meet the dogs, so Ben and I went out into the yard where they lived, and we walked around to pet each of them. They were so happy and cute!

Me looking super rugged with some of the doggies
This dog is performing a complex maneuver known as a “mlem”
Rare sighting of Ben. He’s the tall one.

After a little while another guide, Manuela, came out with the ATV. She started taking dogs from the yard and putting them on the line attached to the ATV. When the dogs saw this was happening, they started barking themselves into a frenzy. They really, really wanted to be chosen.

The dogs that *were* chosen could hardly contain their excitement, and they would try to pull the ATV even though it was parked and attached to a post. (Manuela said that one time they pulled so hard that the post came out of the ground!)

The dogs are basically freaking out with excitement.
View from the ATV

Once we were ready, we released the brake on the ATV and off we went. The dogs pulled us down a trail. Ben and I took turns “driving” the ATV, which generally just involved steering, since it was mostly kept idling as the dogs happily pulled us along. There were some slight inclines along the way where we accelerated a bit to help the dogs.

Dogs on the trail
Ben driving the ATV.

Some of the dogs have mastered the art of pooping while running. I’ve always admired efficiency. (Don’t worry — I don’t have any photos of that.)

The sled trip lasted for about an hour. When we got back, we helped give the dogs some water. They were tired but not exhausted, and were definitely still up for belly rubs.

Thirsty dogs

After the sledding trip, we went with Jeff and some of the younger dogs (not quite young enough to be called puppies — maybe pupperinos) on a short hike to a nearby river where the dogs got to swim for a few minutes. It was adorable.

Then we went back to the lodge where there was coffee and cake.

Bottom line

Overall this was a great excursion. Ben was pretty skeptical, as I don’t think this is the kind of activity he would typically do, but he told me he really enjoyed it. Win!

  1. Interesting activity. I am dead-scared of dogs and avoid all possible to go near them. Great to read something like this though.

  2. ‚Puppertunity‘!
    Andrew is back!

    What a lovely uplifting post! The more I read about this Whitehorse trip the more I want to visit the place.

  3. Last January I got to go dog sledding in Svalbard, -20C, snowing, and pitch black in mid-day. We didn’t have the flashy ATV, but an old school wooden sled, which in the deep snow was very hard to drive. Definitely an experience of a lifetime!

  4. I took a helicopter to the top of a glacier and did this on snow, instead of in the mud. Like economy versus first.

  5. I first went to Muktuk about 20 years ago….I went back and started my own kennel. All my lines are from MukTuk. Jeff and Manuella are amazing people and before them, Frank Turner and his wife Anne were exemplary dog people. Frank is considered one of the best dog whisperers in the world and one of the best outdoor wilderness experts. In fact, Frank and I just spent 3 weeks together helping us move our dogs. It is a wonderful sport, and yes, the dogs love it. You can’t make a dog run….if they don’t want to, they just quit. Anyway, glad that you did it. Go back in the winter sometime, and take a run on the Takini and watch the northern lights overhead. If you are really lucky, you can hear the wolves howl in the hills. Whitehorse is an amazing little town, and the people who live there are some of the best people in the world. The Yukon Quest is an international dog race that is roughly 1,000 miles long. This year it starts in Whitehorse…ends in Fairbanks. If anyone wants a true wilderness/outside adventure…..go for it. You will be changed forever.

  6. @ Anon

    From my experience dog sledding in Manitoba, the dogs go absolutely delirious with excitement over the chance to pull a sled. I don’t quite understand why, but even I as a non dog person can see the obvious excitement and enthusiasm they had over going for a run.

    Personally, I wish I had half as much enthusiasm about exercising.

  7. Wait, just for clarification, did the dogs get water on the trip? I worked as a musher in the arctic and we stopped frequently to give the dogs water during summer, as in every 20 min or less.

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