The dog sledding tours are a unique experience from start to finish. Once you arrive at the husky farm the dogs will bark and howl eager to meet you and start running.
But then, as soon as the sledding safari starts, you’ll ride through the landscape in complete silence – the only sound you’ll hear is the snow under the sledge and the dogs breathing as you go.
On a self-drive dog sled safari you get the chance to try your luck as a musher (the sled driver) for the day. On our Tromsø dog sledding tours there will be two people per sled – one being the driver and one being the passenger. There will be plenty of options to switch places along the way, so you can lead the huskies parts of the time and sit back and enjoy the ride for the rest.
At the basecamp dozens of friendly Alaskan huskies are waiting for their next adventure. The dogs love to meet and interact with guests, so don’t hesitate to greet them and give them a cuddle. After meeting the dogs our friendly guide will go through the guidelines and safety instructions for the day. We will also provide you with warm clothes (thermal suits, boots, hats and mittens), to make sure you are comfortable during the ride.
Once you are ready, it’s time to set off into the wilderness. Feel the cold breeze on your face as you mush the husky team through the snow-covered landscape by scenic fjords and majestic mountains. Or kick back in the sled cuddled up with warm clothes while the dogs pull the sleigh.
After the sledding adventure, we’ll serve you a bite to eat and something to drink. Once you’ve had the chance to relax and warm up for a bit, it’s time to board the bus and head back to the city.
Horror stories of animal cruelty – livestock being forced to work, beaten when they don’t cooperate and killed when there’s no longer any use for them – makes certain people questiong whether dog sledding is an ethical activity.
Unfortunately animals being treated unfairly also take place in dog sledding operations around the world. In Norway any form of animal cruelty – beating or mistreating them of any sorts – is strictly forbidden, so you can be rest assured that no dog sledding operators in this country are violating any laws, regulations or ethical standards.
At the yard the huskies are eager to go on their next tour. If they were to get tired, they would stop and lie down and they wouldn't continue until they were ready. (Though the dog sledding tours are not long enough to wipe them out completely). After the tour the dogs get to relax, drink water and eat while another dog sledding team is up next. As soon as they are rested, they are good to go again. The Alaskan huskies are actually at the happiest when they get to do what they love the most – run.
The Alaskan huskies are not purebreds, but mongrels that are selectively bred for their sleigh-pulling and racing abilities. They are energetic, high endurance, resilient dogs that can run at a top speed of up to 50 kilometers (30 miles) per hour. These dogs don't need any fuel or encouragement to run – this is what they were born to do and they love it.
As the mushers prepare the sled for a tour, the huskies will bark and howl "Pick me, Pick me!" Just the thought of going on a sledding adventure gets them all excited. Luckily – even if they don't get picked – their next adventure is never far away.
You don’t need any previous experience to mush your own husky team – the guide will tell you everything you need to know before you set off. Once you get started, you’ll soon realize that mushing your husky team is actually not that hard. Pluss the huskies know what to do. These dogs are literally born to run.
You can go on husky tours in different parts of Europe and in the world – both in summer and winter. During summer the sled is replaced by a wagon or an ATV, so you’ll go by wheels instead of on the snow. In Norway you can go dog sledding in every part of the country, including some of the biggest skiing destinations in southern Norway, Lillehammer and Gudbrandsdalen on the east side, and Tromsø, Alta and Kirkenes in northern Norway.
One of the reasons Tromsø is a popular spot for dog sledding is that it has a lot of other things to offer too. Tromsø – aka the Arctic Capital, aka The Paris of the North – offers a bustling nightlife and nature sites just outside the city. Here you have great opportunities to combine a range of activities and experiences. The city has plenty of restaurants, cafes, nightlife, cultural events and landmarks. The Arctic wilderness is not far away, and if you are staying in Tromsø for a few days it’s possible to combine several nature activities, such as Northern Lights trips, cruises, snowmobiling and more.
In the northern regions, for example the northern parts of Norway, Sweden or Finland, you might also spot the Northern Lights on the winter evening tours, making your trip even more memorable. The actual dog sledding in these countries will pretty much be the same, but the nature sights will differ. In Finland and Sweden you’ll mostly see forests or lakes, and in Norway you’ll also have the view of the fjords.
The terrain in Breivikeidet is more flat and easy-going while the terrain in Camp Tamok can be a bit more challenging. In both of these places you’ll be surrounded by beautiful majestic mountains.
It’s important to be in a decent physical condition when taking part in the dog sledding tours, dog sledding is a team effort and you might have to get out at some point and help push to avoid getting stuck in the snow. Actually, when you go uphill and the dogs have to pull the sleigh harder they will sometimes turn and look at you, slightly annoyed, wondering if there is any help coming soon.
During the winter season there are daily dog sledding tours from Tromsø and you can choose if you want a day or a night time departure. During the day you'll be able to enjoy more of the scenery and the nature surrounding you, whilst during the night time you'll have the chance to spot the Northern Lights if you are lucky.
Some tours start at Breivikeidet (a 50 minute drive from Tromsø city center) and in Camp Tamok (a 75 minute drive from the city). Including travel time to the camps the Tromsø tours last from 5-7 hours. All tours include transport from and to the city
Just make sure you plan ahead to avoid disappointment. It's recommended that you book a week or two in advance to ensure you secure a spot. The dog sledding season in Tromsø lasts from November to March.
Note: If your main goal is to see the Northern Lights, we recommend booking a tour focusing on catching Aurora.
We start the trip telling our guests what to do / not do and explaining what can/might “go wrong”. Some may get a bit nervous at the start of the trip, but afterwards they are always relieved realizing that mushing the huskies actually wasn’t that difficult.
Another memory that often stands out is the dog’s toilet habits – when an Alaskan husky has to go, they go! They quickly learn how to go to the bathroom while they are running to avoid having to stop or slow things down. So watch out for any flying poo on your trip!
The greatest memory guests are left with after this experience is of course the dog sledding itself. And chances are you will make a bunch of new four legged friends along the way.
If you are interested it’s also possible to see the professional sled dog drivers race against each other in dog sledding tournaments. Finnmarksløpet, the biggest dog race in Europe, is organized every year in Alta, in the northernmost county of Troms and Finnmark. This is a big event every year, and the buzzing atmosphere in the gorgeous snowy landscape makes everything even more memorable.