Dog Sledding in Lake Louise with Kingmik Tours
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Winter in Alberta brings bitterly cold wind chills and deep snow. Even if it doesn’t snow in the cities, the mountains are often covered in a blanket of glistening snow. Other than skiing and snowboarding, can you think of any reason to visit the Rocky Mountains in winter and exposing yourself to extreme cold weather?
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I used to think spending winter in the mountains is exclusively a skier-type of activity. Besides skiing, I really couldn’t think of any other reason to visit Banff and Lake Louise in the winter. I didn’t know then that you can hike through Johnston Canyon in the winter and it is stunning!
For the past two winters, we either traveled somewhere to escape the winter chills, or stayed indoor and hibernated. To help me appreciate Canadian winter a bit more, Kev booked us a dog sled tour in Banff this February, which turned out to be a fabulous winter adventure!
Dog Sled Tour – Alberta Version of Fast and Furious
This was our very first dog sledding experience and we were very excited! After a good night sleep and a hearty breakfast, we joyfully strolled down the hill from Chateau Lake Louise. At around noon time, we arrived at the Great Divide parking lot and checked in with the Kingmik dog led team. As we waited for the tour time to start, we went around mingling and bonding with the dogs. Those Alaskan Huskies might appear intimidating with their loud barks, but they were comfortable around humans and super friendly to strangers.
In the meantime, the guides selected the dogs to run the tour, put on little booties on their feet, and paired us with the right team. We greeted each Alaskan Husky on our team, learned each of their names, and couldn’t wait for our fast and furious friends to take us on a running adventure!
At 12 P.M. sharp, we hopped in the sled, bundled up in warm sleeping bag and cushions, and off we went!
As soon as we hit the trail, all the dogs quieted down and ran happily along the old 1A highway that stretches 16 km long all the way to the B.C. border at Yoko National Park. For the next 1.5 hour, we simply lied back and enjoyed the spectacular scenery of a winter wonderland. It was really a surreal experience with cold wind blowing into your face!
Our team consisted of 1 musher and 8 ultra-athletic dogs who could run as fast as 20km/hour at the very start and on downhill. The pace of tour was set by the 2 lead dogs at the front who are trained to tune into the musher and take directional commands. We could really tell that these Huskies love running in the snow – some of them licked snow off the ground as they were running, others rolled into it as we stopped ? The snowy Rocky Mountains really make an ideal playground for these excited Huskies!
To capture this magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience, we stopped periodically along the trail for photography opportunities with the dogs as well as the magnificent views of the Rockies. If we stopped for too long though, our canine friends would start barking again as if yelling “Stopping is BORING. Let’s go running!”
On our way back, Kev and I took turns switching from sitting to standing in order to get the thrilling experience of mushing the team of dogs ourselves (of course, under the supervision of our guide ?). Ohh… driving the sled was so much more fun and interactive, but it was also much COLDER. The majestic view of the frozen landscape made up for it though!
Before we headed back to the staging area, we made a slight detour to the close perimeter of Lake Louise to admire the Narnia-esque landscape! Isn’t that beautiful?
One last thing before we said goodbye to these excellent marathon runners – tossing them chunks of raw meat as a way to thank them for their day of hard work. Their accuracy in snapping the food out of the air saved me from embarrassing myself with my poor throwing skill ?
Have I convinced you yet to get out and participate in outdoor winter activities? I am not a fan of cold winter myself, but dog sledding is truly a memorable experience.
I can’t help but look back at every photo we took. We were so thankful of Kingmik for the incredible time and hospitality. If you ever want to experience dog sledding, check them out – they are the only operator licensed to provide dog sled tour in Banff National Park. They never put strangers together on one sled to ensure you get that personable, intimate experience with your loved one.
Keep in mind that the tours are only offered from December to April and often fill up fast!
Tips – What to Wear?
Dress WARM with a hat, neck warmer, gloves, earmuffs as well as a warm coat and ski pants. Eye protection such as sunglasses and goggles is advisable, but not mandatory. Most important of all, do NOT wear running shoes. If you have hiking boots or snow boots, wear them to keep your feet warm!
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I wanted to go dog sledding last spring, when we went to Alaska, but there was not enough snow. It looks really fun.
This looks like tremendous fun. We visited lake Louise in summer in 2015 and it was beautiful but seeing it in winter would be magical.
It was SOOO fun! Lake Louise is beautiful no matter which season you visit!
Dog sledding looks incredible! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but despite living in the European Alps for 4 winters – we were never in a place where it was done 🙁
Looks like you had an amazing time – I’m very jealous 😉
It is an experience you have to try once in a life time! Hope you get to try it sometime in the Europe, Vicki 🙂
I am not a fan of cold weather neither (that is why I live in California). However, dog sledding is something I would enjoy. Looks like an awesome experience. I like how you guys got cozy on that sled.
Thanks, Ruth! It is a must-try activity if you ever come up to Canada 😀
I would LOVE to do this! What a great way to snuggle up and see the beautiful snowy countryside. I’ve been to Banff and thought it wonderful. My two boys would be beyond excited to do something like this. #TheWeeklyPostcard
Definitely a kid-friendly activity, Clare! Hope you get a chance to do a dog sled tour with you family 🙂
I’d love to go dog sledding. This looks absolutely magical. Mostly we have seen dog sledding opportunities when we ski and I can’t get my family off the slopes long enough to try it. I think planning a specific activity around it is the way to go.
It will be a fun activity to do in between skiing/snowboarding 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Shobha!
Wow,this looks like so much fun! It sure seems like the dogs had a blast too.
For sure! I loved the Huskies – they were so cute and friendly!
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Fabulous pictures! I know you had a great time because I’ve been dog sledding, too, and don’t think anyone could ever NOT enjoy it. My experience was in Norway and like you, I enjoyed seeing how eager the dogs were to get moving and run. It was one of my favorite travel moments ever. I’d do it again in a heartbeat — and Banff is probably closer.
I love how you and the hubby are tucked away in the sled together. I get to combine being outdoors, dogs and snuggling Jenn all in the same trip. This looks pretty dang good.
Such a marvelous experience! I’d love to try this too one day, probably in the Scandinavian 😀 You’re making me missing winter!
Haha you and your hubby look adorable tucked in on the sled! We’d love to try dog sledding some time, can never say no to doggos!! I love how you got to feed them at the end 🙂
This looks so fun! I’ve never thought to do this, but it looks so picturesque and charming. The dogs look sweet, and the views spectacular. I’m not a fan of the cold, but that sleeping bag in the cart looks so warm! I would definitely want to do this if I came to Alberta in the winter.
I’ve been wanting to do this forever! I didn’t realize Canada offered the opportunity, seems there’s more and more reasons to visit!
What an interesting day filled with fun. Reading your post, I winder who is more happy, you who got to enjoy a surreal winter with dogs sledding or the dogs who got to enjoy the feel of the snow. The pictures show how filled you were that I imagined myself in that position. I’d not mind giving dog sledding a try, guess it works more exciting during the winter. Cold in exchange for so much fun as this is considerably worth trying
OMG this looks like so much fun! I’ve heard about people doing this in the Finnish Lapland, but not in Canada. The more I think about it, the more it doesn’t surprise me. I’m not much of a winter person either, but this is an activity I could definitely get behind!
Oh my goodness I love this completely. Coming from a city I never learned skiing, despite loving snow so much I never knew what to do outdoors in snow covered mountains. You’ve given me such an amazing reason to go out in snow. Thanks so much for sharing this.
Reminds me of the movie Eight Below! I would totally want to do dog sledding!!!
Good to know that they were friendly with even strangers!
This is one heck of a, once in lifetime experience.
Ok, I’m totally in love with all these dogs. Dog sledding is something I’d absolutely love to do one day, and now I want to go even more! This company sounds like a good option, I’ll remember them for next time!
Dog sledging in snowy locales must be fun and adventurous. I have never done this and would really like to do this activity. These dogs look friendly and happy. I would save the name of Kingmik Dog Sled Tours for my future visit to Lake Louise.
How cute do you guys look all snuggled up in the sled?! And those dogs are so adorable — that one pic which looks like the black and white dog is smiling just melted me. I’m not a fan of snow or cold weather but I’d definitely make an exception for dog sledding! It looks like so much fun, especially with those views!
One question though — what’s a musher?
OMG this looks like winter wonderland and the dogs are so so cute! What an amazing experience. I’ve never thought about doing it but might just have to now!
Oh this looks amazing. So many cute puppies. And the way they wrap you up looks so snuggly. I so want to do this.
Wow, this looks so interesting and nice. I really want to to do dog sledging. And the dogs are really cute.