Dog Sledding in Banff, the Ultimate Rockies Winter Experience

A pack of dogs pulling a sled through the Rocky Mountains.

While skiing or snowboarding in Banff, you can easily forget about the park’s other magical winter possibilities, like dog sledding. It’s probably the most extraordinary, magical and memorable activity you can do in Banff in winter. This article explains all the ins and outs. 

Just close your eyes and imagine the following: you’re sitting on a slay, covered in a blanket and you’re going at great speed through a pristine, white landscape. Mountains loom high above while you’re zipping past the countless pine trees.  

The wind is blowing through your hair and the sun throws shadows on the crisp, clean snow. The dog pack before you produces a muffled sound as their paws lightly touch the snow at a fast and rhythmic pace. Their constant snorting and barking echo through the skies.

You lean over when the dogs pull the sled through a corner to keep your balance. You sit up straight again as soon as possible, only to admire the new vistas with a grin.

Sounding too romantic? It doesn’t have to be. This is what a drive on a dog sled can be like. And it’s yours to experience as there are several dog sled tours in the Rockies you can book.

Below, you’ll find all information you need to know. Let’s check it out.

Why Dog Sledding in Banff is Fun

It may seem evident that dog sledding is fun. But let me try to explain. First, you’ve probably never done it before, so it’ll give you a thrill unlike anything else you’ve experienced before. 

Then there’s the speed and the beautiful pack of dogs running right before you. On several tours, you’ll be allowed to drive the sled, which is an extraordinary experience in and of itself. 

And, of course, the ubiquitous pristine landscapes that open up to you with every new corner. 

These should be enough reasons to book a dog sledding tour right now! 

Oh, before I forget: technically, there’s only one dog sledding tour described below that actually takes place in Banff National Park, organized by Kingmik Dog Sled Tours. The others are just outside the park’s borders.

The Highlights of Dog Sledding in Banff

In case you’re doubting, I invite you to check out the section below, listing the advantages of a dog sledding experience:

  • You’ll go places you would otherwise never go
  • Spectacular scenery
  • The unique thrill of speeding through pristine landscapes
  • No environment pollution 
  • The risk of running into dangerous wildlife in winter is very slim
  • Some physical activity (a lot of squatting and leaning)

The Downside of Dog Sledding in Banff

  • It can get very cold
  • Dog hair flies everywhere; your clothes will be covered in it
  • Frequent smell of dog poop
  • Risk of a crash or other accident (minimal risk, but it could happen)
  • One of the most expensive tours you can do in Banff in winter 
  • Most tours are not in Banff National Park

How Many Dogs Are on a Sledding Pack?

A big pack of dogs pulling a sled during a dog sledding trip in the Rockies.

The size of a dog sledding pack varies. Packs for solo drivers are composed of 4 to 6 dogs. Packs for so-called paired sleds are composed of 8 to 12 dogs. Even bigger packs can be composed of as many as 20 dogs. Each dog in the pack has a specific function and place.

How Fast Do Dog Sleds Go?

The speed at which dogs pull their sled varies on the distance they need to cover. Generally speaking, they will run between 25 and 30 km per hour (15 – 19 mph) on average

Other factors are snow quality (fresh snow makes it more challenging to pull the sled than existing snow trails) and the weight of the sled

Especially on the shorter dog sledding tours, you can book and expect the dogs to reach these speeds. Though different tour lengths exist, see the paragraph ‘Where to Book Dog Sledding Tours?’ below.

When Does the Banff Dog Sledding Season Start?

The Banff dog sledding season lasts from December to April. As these tours depend on snow, the amount of snowfall determines when dog sledding tours can be held. In general, November sees the first significant snowfall. In December, there’s enough snow in the Rockies to guarantee a dog sledding tour.  

What to Take With You on a Dog Sledding Tour?

If you’re going on a dog sledding tour, you must prepare well for the cold (and the sun). Below I listed some essential items you’ll need during the trip. 

  • Insulated winter jacket
  • Insulated snow pants
  • Hat (toque)
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Wool or synthetic wool socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen (on bright days)

Rent Stuff for a Dog Sledding Tour

In case you didn’t bring any of these materials with you, most of them you can rent in Banff. Here are some rental place that will have the things you need:


Wilson Mountain Sports
Address: Building A Samson Mall, 101 Lake Louise Drive
Phone: +1 403 522 3636


Snowtips Bactrax
Address: 225 Bear Street
Phone: +1 403 762 8177

Ultimate Banff
Address: 206 Banff Avenue
Phone: +1 403 762 0547

White Mountain Adventures
Address: 137 Eagle Crescent
Phone: +1 403 – 760 4403 Ext 21


Gear Up
Address: 1302 Bow Valley Trail
Phone: + 1 403 678 1636 

What Does a Musher do?

You’ll venture out with a tour guide when you book a dog sledding tour. These are called “mushers” on a dog sledding tour.

A musher is a person who drives a dog sled over snow. The musher has overall control over the dog pack pulling the sled. He steers it in the right direction and steps on the brakes whenever necessary. 

Why Are Dog-Sled Drivers Called Mushers?

Mushing gets its name from the French word “marche”, meaning to go or run. The term was used in the early days of Canadian dog sledding. However, “mush” gradually replaced “marche” among English Canadians. Mushers now command their dogs using the word “mush”. 

What Dog Breeds Are Used for Dog Sledding?

There are several dog breeds used for dog sledding. The most well-known breed is the husky. Several different types exist, like the Alaskan Husky, the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky. Other dog sled breeds are the Canadian Eskimo Dog, the Greenland Dog and the Chinook. 

In Alberta, the Alaskan Husky is mainly used for dog sledding. The Alaskan Husky generally stands higher than a Siberian Husky and is more slender than an Alaskan Malamute. They range in height from 51 to 66 centimeters (20 to 26 inches) and in weight from 16 to 34 kg (35 and 75 pounds)

The coat of an Alaskan husky can be as diverse as the dog itself; while most have double coats, the colors and patterns within the different lines can range from solid to iridescent.

Can You Drive a Dog Sled Yourself?

Yes, you can. Depending on the tour, you can drive the sled yourself. Ask your tour organizer about the options.  

What’s a Dog Sled’s Weight Limit?

The weight limit for a dog sled depends on the size of the pack pulling the sled. Other factors are the weight of the sled and the person(s) sitting on it. Generally, most tours have a weight limit of about 160 – 200 kilograms (350 – 441 lbs). 

Can Kids Go on Dog Sledding Tours?

Yes, kids can come along on dog sledding tours, depending on the tour. Ask your tour organizer about the age limit, but some tours allow very young children on the sled. See the table at the bottom of the page for specific information on this subject.  

How to Brake on a Dog Sled?

The dog sled driver has the command of two brakes, a light and a heavy brake. The heavy brake is a horizontal iron bar with two vertical claws on the back of the sled. The light brake is a mat connected to the sled. 

When pushing the heavy brake, the driver presses the claws into the snow, increasing the resistance for the dogs.

The driver will mainly operate the heavy brake with variable pressure. If severe braking is needed, the driver can jump on the brake with both feet to use his body weight to slow down the dogs. 

The light brake is dropped on the snow, dragging behind the sled. The driver steps onto it to slow down the dogs. 

Are there any Dangers Involved in Dog Sledding?

Dog sledding is not entirely risk-free. You can fall from the sled; crash into trees, rocks or even wildlife. That’s why you’ll have an experienced musher during the tour to operate the sled. 

Despite the above, you don’t have too much to worry about. Just sit down and relax (as far as possible as you need to actively engage in operating the sled by squatting and leaning left or right in corners).

Can You Go Dog Sledding When Pregnant?

In general, no significant dangers are associated with dog sledding during (early) pregnancy. However, some hazards and circumstances might increase those risks. These include a collision with other animals or objects or you falling from the sled when it’s moving.

It ultimately depends on your judgment. Before embarking on a dog sledding tour, you’ll need to sign a waiver acknowledging that dog sledding has inherent risks, hazards, and dangers. 

Also, ensure your insurance covers any costs when you’re going on a dog sledding trip while pregnant.

Can you Get Insurance for Dog Sledding?

Dog sledding is probably covered if you’re in the Rockies for skiing or snowboarding. Not all insurance policies will automatically cover such activities, so it’s necessary to read the fine print. If you’re still unsure, check with your insurer before heading out. 

Also make sure you go on a dog sledding trip with a reputable organizer, like the ones mentioned in this article. 

Where to Book Dog Sledding Tours?

There are several tour organizers in the Banff area that offer dog sledding tours. They offer different packages.

However, there’s one caveat for all these tours: they are all weather permitting. Too low temperatures, a snow storm or mist can be reasons for the organizer to cancel the trip at the last minute.

In Banff, you can book with Discover Banff Tours and Banff Adventures.

In Lake Louise, you can book with Kingmik Dog Sled Tours.

In Canmore, the companies Howling Dog Tours, Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours Inc and Mad Dogs & Englishmen Expeditions Inc offer dog sledding tours.

How Much Does a Dog Sledding Tour Cost?

A dog sledding tour in Banff will cost you between CAD 145 and CAD 1750 per person, depending on the duration and the number of people. 

Kingmik Dog Sled Tours

Kingmik Dog Sled Tours is based in Lake Louise and offers you dog sledding tours inside Banff National Park. You can book the Great Divide Tour and the Narnia Tour. 

The Narnia tour is a thirty minutes dog sledding introductory tour and costs CAD 145 +GST per person.

This tour departs two times a day:

  • 2 pm
  • 3 pm

The Great Divide Tour is held near Lake Louise. This tour lasts for 90 minutes and costs CAD 250 + GST. Infants until five years old pay CAD 50 + GST. 

It departs three times a day. 

  • 9.30 am
  • 12 pm 
  • 2 pm

Kingmik Dog Sled Tours
Address: 16430 Highway 1a, Lake Louise
Phone: +1 855 – 482 4592

Howling Dog Tours

Howling Dog Tours offers two tours, including pick-ups in Banff. The first one is the Unleash the Musher Tour. This tour lasts for two hours and costs CAD 240. It departs four times per day, from December through April: 

  • 10 am
  • 12 pm
  • 2 pm
  • 4 pm (no Banff pick-up available)

The second one is the Dog Day Afternoon. This tour is a half-day event and costs CAD 550 (including lunch). It departs at noon, from January through March. For this tour, a minimum 48 hours notice is required.

Howling Dog Tours
Address: 712 Bow Valley Trail #105
Phone: +1 403 – 678 9588

Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours Inc

Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours Inc has four tours on its roster: the Powder Hound Express, the Sunfeather Winterlude, the Spirit of the Dog Society and the Ghost of Fortune Mountain Tours.  

The Powder Hound Express Tour is two hours long and costs between CAD 233 and CAD 275 + GST per person.

It departs four times a day:

  •  9 am
  • 11 am
  • 1 pm
  • 3 pm

The Sunfeather Winterlude Tour takes four hours, includes lunch and takes you over a 24-kilometer (14 mi) trail. It costs CAD 565 + GST per person.

The Spirit of the Dog Society is an epic 8-hour tour that starts at 9 am and is held from January through April. This tour costs CAD 980 (+GST) per person and is subject to availability.

The Spirit of the Dog Society is an epic 8-hour tour that starts at 9 am and is held from January through April. This tour costs CAD 980 (+GST) per person and is subject to availability.

The Ghost of Fortune Mountain Tour is the ultimate dogsledding trip you can do. This tour is a two-day overnight trip. During these two days, you’ll cover an 80-km trail.  

The tour is held from Monday to Tuesday and Thursday to Friday. A minimum of two participants is required for this tour. Call their office for a quote. 

Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours Inc
Address: 829 10th Street
Phone: +1 403 – 678 4369

Mad Dogs & Englishmen Expeditions Inc

Mad Dogs & Englishmen Expeditions Inc offers no fewer than six tours. They range from short drives to trips, including an overnight stay. 

The Husky Dreamcatcher Tour is held in the Kananaskis Valley and will pass a teepee encampment. The tour lasts about 1.5 hours and costs CAD 395 + GST per person.

The Mountain Musher Tour takes place in the Spray Lakes area in Kananaskis and takes about two hours. This tour, starting from CAD 480 + GST, will make you feel as if you’re in the middle of the arctic tundra.

The Mt. Nestor Viewpoint Tour is a half-day tour. This tour starts at 10.30 am and takes you to the Spray Lakes area in Kananaskis. This tour starts at CAD 446.66 + GST per person. 

The Spray Lakes Quest is a full-day tour in the Spray Lakes area in Kananaskis and starts at 9 am. It costs CAD 865 + GST per person and includes lunch. 

The Dogsled under the Stars Tour offers what the name suggests: an evening run. Its availability is limited as you can only book it for three nights around the full moon each month. This tour starts at 5 pm, lasts two hours and takes you to the Spray Lakes area in Kananaskis as well. Prices start at CAD 555 +GST per person.

The Dogsled 2 Days / 1 Night Tour is a two-day adventure in Kananaskis’s Spray Lakes area. This tour requires a minimum of two participants and costs CAD 1750 + GST per person.  

Mad Dogs & Englishmen Expeditions Inc
Address: 113-302 Old Canmore Road
Phone: +1 403 – 609 3670

Discover Banff Tours

Discover Banff Tours offers several dog sledding tours on behalf of other organizers. In the table below, you’ll find the tours they have on offer.

Discover Banff Tours
Address: 215 Banff Avenue, Banff (in the Sundance Mall)
Phone: +1 403 – 760 5007

Banff Adventures

Banff Adventures is another company that offers tours that other companies in the Bow Valley organize. In the table below, you’ll find the tours they have on offer.

Banff Adventures
Address: 211 Bear Street
Phone: +1 800 – 644 8888

Tours Overview

Below you’ll find a table with all the necessary information about the dog sledding tours in the Banff area. The prices (from) are for adults and are indicated per person.

Banff AdventuresUnleash the Musher2 hoursCAD 2402Dec-April
Great Divide1.5 hoursCAD 2502Dec-April
Mountain Musher2 hoursCAD 2402
Husky Dreamcatcher2 hoursCAD 209.502
Discover Banff ToursGreat Divide1.5 hoursCAD 250All AgesDec-April
Narnia30 minsCAD 145All AgesJan-March
Powder Hound2 hours CAD 233All AgesDec-April
Sunfeather Interlude4 hoursCAD 53811Jan-April
Howlin Dogs ToursUnleash the Musher2 hoursCAD 2402Dec-April
Dog Day Afternoon4 hoursCAD 52510Jan-March
Mad Dogs & Englishmen Expeditions IncHusky Dreamcatcher1.5 hoursCAD 395All Ages
Mountain Musher2 hoursCAD 208.33All Ages
Mt. Nestor Viewpoint3.5-4 hoursCAD 446.6510
Spray Lakes Quest8 hoursCAD 86516
Dogsled Under the Stars2 hoursCAD 236.6510
Dogsled 2 Days / 1 Night2 daysCAD 175016
Kingmik Dog Sled ToursGreat Divide1.5 hoursCAD 250All AgesDec-April
Narnia30 minsCAD 145All AgesJan-March
Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours IncPowder Hound Express2 hoursCAD 262.50All AgesDec-April 5th
Sunfeather Interlude 4 hoursCAD 565 11Jan-April
Spirit of the Dog Society8 hoursCAD 98011Jan-April
Ghost of Fortune Mountain2 daysTBD17Feb-April
Dog Sledding Tours in the Banff Area

Like to engage in winter activities in Banff? In that case you might be interested in winter camping. Check out The Complete Guide to Winter Camping in Banff if you want to know more.


As a former Banffite, I love writing about my favorite part of the world. I keep coming back to enjoy the park's mesmerising beauty. It never fails to impress me. With my extensive knowledge of the area, I aim to provide you with the best information on Banff that you can find on the internet.

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