Meet the Energetic Team at the Denali Sled Dog Kennel

Puppies at the Denali Sled Dog Kennel

When you think of Alaska what images pop into your mind? If it is the image of barking dogs pulling speeding sleds through the snow, then don’t miss the Denali Sled Dog Kennel when you visit Denali National Park.

Our visit to the kennels turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. The rangers love to share their knowledge of the sled teams. Their day includes putting on several exciting dog sled demonstrations each day. As we found out on our drizzly visit, the dogs run rain or shine! Those pups don’t care. They want to pull that sled!

Dog Sled in Denali National ParkIn the kennel area, an interesting assortment of equipment and training tools are on display. There is also a lot of information about the history of dogs in the park.

Love on the Puppies in the Denali Sled Dog Kennel!

Since the dogs retire at the age of 9, new puppy trainees are usually on the scene to entertain. These puppies are the sled dogs of the future and are usually born and raised in the Denali Kennels. Sled Dog Clove in Denali KennelYou can also visit some of the dogs after the show. Many of them love the extra attention they get from their guests. We were able to have a meet and greet with a sweet young lady named Clove.

The Impact of the Wilderness Act of 1964 on Denali Sled Dogs

For almost a century, dog sled teams have been an important part of managing the vast lands in Denali. The first team of 7 dogs was acquired by the first park superintendent, Harry Karstens, in 1922. For many decades sledding with these amazing animals were the only way for rangers to get deep into the park once snow fell.

Link to gear guide page with pile of gear in woods

Today, because of the Wilderness Act of 1964, much of the park area is still only accessible by snowshoeing or by dog sled in the winter. That act set aside 2 million acres as wilderness. Management work is highly restricted to have the minimum impact on the environment. Using sled dogs to support research team and ranger patrols into the park eliminates the need for motorized vehicles to enter the wilderness area.

Things to Know

During the summer months, the Denali Sled Dog Kennel is open to the public. And what fun it is to spend a couple hours with these dogs! The kennel can easily be reached from the visitor center by a short hike or shuttle bus. There is a parking lot nearby which fills quickly in the summer making the free shuttle a great choice. The Kennels are usually open during the winter but it is likely the dogs themselves will be out in the park.

My sister in-law, who used to live in Anchorage gave me one piece of advice before headed to the great North: “Take a cute raincoat because it will be in everyone of your pictures.” I laughed, but it was so true! You’ll want one that not only looks cute but stuffs easily into your pack.

If you have a suggestion to add to a first time visitors Things to Do in Glacier National Park list, please share them in the comments below. If you are headed to Glacier soon, don’t forget to pin this to your travel board for quick access when you need it!

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  • Ladona Stork

    The Authors: Hey, we are Ladona and Brad, avid campers and hikers. We are crazy about getting outdoors at every possible moment and have decades of experience exploring nature. Our current goal is to visit all 63 US National Parks and just completed #42. WooHoo! Our mission is to help you plan your own adventures and create memories beyond your imagination!