Road Trip: A Dog Day Afternoon

Charge your way through Colorado powder behind a canine sled team this winter.

Authored by Joe Rogers

Photo by Joe Rogers

“Hike!” shouts my guide, Chloe, into the calm, frosty air as soft morning snow gently falls around us. Our anxious team of yelping dogs instantly charges into the fresh powder like it’s their birthday. Before today, I’d never even thought about taking a dog sled tour, let alone running one behind eight striking Siberian mushing Huskies, but now here I am, trees whizzing past and snow dust kicking up into my face while adrenaline increasingly pumps through my veins.

“They love to run,” Chloe says with a smile as the dogs launch into another gear, sending the sled gliding down a well-groomed straightaway.

I consider myself a Coloradan, yet, in terms of being the winter-loving outdoor enthusiast type, I’m also the exception to the norm. I’m a warm weather guy. So, when it comes to road trips, most of my time is spent finding fun in the sun, but this winter drive to Breckenridge to experience a few thrills with the crew at Good Times Adventures immediately has me thinking twice.

- Advertisement -

I grip the sled a little tighter and lightly tap on the brakes while we near a turn. When it comes, I lean into it and stand up straight again only after we round the corner, once again feeling the strong familiar tug from out front as we head uphill. Not a bad way to spend a day in the mountains, I think.

Good Times Adventures, a mere two-hour drive from Denver, is the only dog sledding and snowmobile tour operator in Summit County. Tours begin with a few safety tips and an explanation of how to run the sled, followed by an up-close introduction of the day’s team. Each of mine, even the wily veteran, Biggie, is happy to be a part of a photo op and even happier when it comes to a long and friendly head scratch.

The six-mile twisting tour jettisons through the Swan River Valley and along a picturesque, forest-lined trail filled with dips, turns, and wide-open spectacular views. It’s a “relay-style” tour, meaning in between short breaks I take my turn with other riders running the sled, riding, or watching from the lead snowmobile sleigh. This position offers excellent photos if you have friends or family members along for the ride.

So, if you’re looking for some wintry road trip fun that will send you home with epic tales of dog mushing in the Rocky Mountains, look no further than Good Times Adventures or one of the other operators around the state’s snow countries.

Photo by Joe Rogers

Pick Your Dog Sled Adventure

What makes it special: Relay-style tours cover six miles just outside of Breckenridge. There are plenty of photo opportunities and hot chocolate around a warm fireplace is ready for you upon your return. If you’re looking to add to your active family, visit with a staff member about adopting one of their amazing dogs!
Cost: $125 per person, including adult snowsuits and boots, but no suits for children. Reservations highly recommended.

What makes it special: Sled rides run 45 minutes to one hour through the Snowmass Village backcountry. Campfire breaks, cider, or hot chocolate, as well as lunch and dinner options, are provided depending on your tour.
Cost: $345 per adult, $195 per child ages 3 to 9

What makes it special: Leadville tag-sled and group tours (8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily) offer guests the chance to ride and drive the dog sled. Tours cover six miles and you’ll be on the trail with a guide for about one hour.
Cost: Prices vary between $195 and $120 per adult, $120 and $100 per child ages 3 to 8. Some gear is provided.

What makes it special: Guests can mush their own Alaskan Huskie dog team down two scenic trails through either the Steamboat Springs backcountry or along the shores of Stagecoach Reservoir.
Cost: Morning and afternoon tours cost $200 per adult (80 lbs. and over) and $120 per child (under 80 lbs.). Shuttle service from Steamboat is included.

Other operators include: Mountain Musher, Snow Buddy Dog Sled Tours, and Durango Dog Ranch.