Below is a list of the questions we are most frequently asked by guests before booking dog sledding trips.
Of course, there are always a few that might not be covered, so if you have a question not answered here,
please don't hesitate to call or email and ask!
Where are you located?
We are a Huntsville area based company (3 hours North of Toronto) and run the majority of our trips in Algonquin Park along the Highway 60 corridor. Directions to the trailhead are included in your Welcome Package that you will receive upon registration for the trip.
Do you offer half or single day trips?
Sorry, we do not. We believe strongly that multi-day trips are by far the best way to experience the magic that comes from working with a team of dogs through the truly rewarding partnership of wilderness travel. We have shared our adventures with participants from 8 to 68 and would be happy to tailor a trip to suit your needs.
Do the dogs really like to pull sleds?
You bet they do! And when we start harnessing and hooking up dogs, you will see just how excited they get!
Our sled dogs are no different than most of your dogs at home - they absolutely love to run with their friends.
We are careful not to overload our sleds and don't put unrealistic expectations on our dogs. They pull no more than 2 people and their personal gear - and as you and the team work together, you will see how easily the sled will glide across the snow.
Of course, a dog who doesn't want to participate will never be forced. Maybe they need a day off, or maybe it's just not for them. Regardless, if they aren't happy, neither are we. Our retired dogs move into our adoption program, or simply live out their years with us. Each time we add a new dog to the pack it's with the knowledge and promise that they have a home with us for life.
It is of utmost importance that every member of our team, human or canine, absolutely love what they do!
Is dog sledding humane?
When done right, the answer is absolutely yes.
Of course, there are those who are doing it right, providing top notch care for their dogs and putting them above all else - and sadly, there are those who are not. It's up to you to make informed choices when deciding on an operator to take you on a dog sledding adventure. Ask questions about their dog care standards. Ask questions and read their reviews. Look at their dogs and determine for yourself if they look happy and healthy. Watch the way they interact with their dogs. If you don't feel right, don't settle.
There are always going to be a few bad apples who offer only the minimum care, or sometimes less - but the majority of mushers have deep, loving relationships with their dogs and treat them as family.
We encourage you to visit our DOG CARE page and see everything that goes into caring for our furry family and how we keep them happy, healthy and balanced.
Are your dogs friendly?
YES! Our dogs interact with hundreds of guests each season, including school groups and young children. Each dog has its own unique personality and traits. Some will immediately want your attention, others take a little longer to warm up - but each one is friendly, happy and loving. During your orientation our guides will teach you how to recognize the dogs’ comfort level as you get to know them and how best to approach and interact with them.
Our dogs are what we consider "working pets" and are treated with respect and kindness at all times. There is nothing more rewarding for us than seeing the incredible connection our guests make with our dogs.
Do I get to drive a sled?
Absolutely! Participants drive their own dog team and sled and we travel 2 people per sled. If you register solo, you'll be paired up on sled with one of our guides. For the safety and comfort of our dogs we do not allow more than 2 people and their personal gear per sled.
We do reserve the right to switch up partners on sled should we feel that a guest would benefit from sharing a sled with the guide based on physical limitations etc.
Can we bring our children?
Dog sledding is a fabulous family activity but as a matter of safety and due to the rugged nature of our backcountry trails, we require kids to be at least 12 years old to participate in our trips. We have found that kids younger than this tend to struggle with the terrain and the temperatures and are at much greater risk of getting hurt.
All children will be riding on the same sled and stay in the same accommodations as their parents or guardians. We offer a 10% discount for kids between 12-15. Youth 16 and older are treated as adults and as such charged full fare. Participants must be a minimum of 16 years old in order to drive a dog sled. This is not only for the safety of participants, but for the safety of the dogs as well.
How far will we travel?
The primary factors determining how much time we spend on the trail and the distance covered are weather and trail conditions, and group size and ability. Normally, we cover anywhere from 20−40km on trail each day. You will see that the dogs comfortable pace averages 10km per hour. However, at the very start of each day and on down slopes that speed can double, whereas going uphill we might slow to a jog or walk. Overall, the dogs set the pace for travel. The minimum distance we would cover each day is 20km, as that’s how far our tents are from each other. Sometimes that’s all we’ll have time for, most days we will continue for longer than that. The exact route and distance is at the discretion of the guide, who is paying attention to all the factors above as well as keeping an eye on the comfort and safety of the group and the dogs. Remember - this is an immersive dogsledding and winter camping experience and your day will be full of many activities!
Will I be able to be to do this?
This is one of the most popular questions we are asked! A good place to start would be to visit our "Can I Do This?" page for a better idea of the physical expectations of a trip of this nature.
All guests will participate in a complete orientation prior to starting the trip. After that, you will be involved and responsible for all aspects of handling and harnessing your dog team (with the guide’s help, of course)! Dog sledding is an “active” activity, so while you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete, you do need to be in good physical shape and willing to help the dogs out by sometimes jogging along side the sled, helping your dogs up a hill, or otherwise exerting yourself.
What are the trails like? Will we see Wildlife?
For most of our trips, the more than 100km of trails are located in the rugged wilderness that is Algonquin Park. There are no private properties, buildings, or residents - this is Ontario's backcountry at its finest. We will travel through a range of mixed and hardwood forested paths, frozen lakes, snow-covered marshes, and even up a few hills. The scenery is stunning. As for wildlife, we may see some squirrels along the trail and whiskeyjacks (Gray Jays) at camp but most animals have migrated or holed up for the winter. Nonetheless, we do share the forest with a variety of usually unseen wildlife: fox, wolves, moose, deer, pine martens, owls, and more. There is not greater thrill for us and our guests than to hear wolves howling in the night - and often, the dogs answering back!
What should I bring? How should I dress?
For winter trips, it is always best to dress in layers.
More small layers beat a few thick layers every day: a few warm shirts rather than one heavy sweater.
Warm, dry feet are very important and we do offer rentals of Sorel Glacier boots with removable liners to ensure your time outdoors is not spoiled by cold, wet feet.
Everything you are required to bring on any of our trips is outlined on our “What to Bring” page, and you will be given a detailed packing list and gear guide in your Welcome Package which you will receive when you register.
Where will be be staying?
You will be staying in our permanent, traditional northwoods camps: a canvas wall tent heated with a woodstove. Most camps are located along the shore of a lake or stream. Having a woodstove in the wall tents affords the luxury of drying clothes and a readily available source of hot water for washing up. Snuggle into your sleeping bag on our camp cots with the woodstove burning and you'll be ensured a warm and comfortable sleep. Toilet facilities consist of an outdoor privy located a comfortable distance from camp to provide privacy and a nice view of the northwoods. This is winter camping at it's finest.
How many people can you accomodate?
It depends on the details of each specific trip, however, generally speaking we can accommodate up to 6 people at any time with the ability to accommodate more and larger groups with specialized trips and advance notice.
What kind of meals do you provide?
We provide homemade, wholesome food. We don't serve any freeze dried or dehydrated food. Most of our food comes from the grocery store or natural foods wholesale. Sample meals include chicken stir-fry with vegetables, and steak and potatoes with vegetables, and mushers breakfast: potatoes, bacon, eggs.
Do you have dietary restrictions? No problem! We are prepared and can accommodate most restrictions and requirements. We can accommodate Gluten Free and Vegan diets for an additional $10 per day and Vegetarian diets at no additional cost.
*Please note - We are not a nut free facility. We are able to provide nut sensitive menus. (e.g. if there is a nut allergy on a trip the menu will be nut free)
What is included in the price of the trip?
All meals, accommodation, park permits and guiding services are included while on trip. And let’s not forget all of the equipment, sleds and dogs!
See specific trip descriptions for details. Please note that all prices are quoted in Canadian dollars.
How do I Register and Pay?
To register for one of our trips simply contact us by phone or email to confirm availability on the dates of your choice.
Once your spot is confirmed, we will send you a link to our online Registration Form.
Upon receipt of your registration form, we will send you an invoice for a deposit of 25- 50% of the cost of your trip to secure your place. Full payment is required a minimum of 15 days in advance of your departure date (or immediately if booking within 30 days of your trip date). If the remaining payment is not received when due, Snow Forest Adventures reserves the right to treat the reservation as cancelled.
Our preferred method of payment is e-transfer through your online banking. Payments can also be made by cheque by credit card on our website.
What is your cancellation policy?
We will do our absolute best to avoid cancelling a trip, and as such Snow Forest Adventures reserves the right to change itineraries if it will enhance your experience or we are forced to do so by circumstances beyond our control. Although it is unlikely, Snow Forest Adventures does reserve the right to cancel a trip in advance of the departure date. If we are forced to cancel a trip for any reason, we shall endeavour to meet your needs with another trip date at your earliest convenience (assuming there are available trip dates within the season). We will make every effort to reschedule as no reimbursement is provided for trips that need to be cancelled or shortened due to weather, unsafe trail conditions or government lockdowns. For this reason, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND travel insurance.
In the event that you need to cancel your booking, a refund will be issued if the cancellation is received more than 30 days prior to the trip departure. A 10% processing fee applies for all cancellations and you will receive your refund once your spot has been filled. No refunds will be issued if the cancellation is less than 30 days before the trip departure.
We highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance. This will ensure that weather or emergencies won't cost you your highly anticipated adventure. Outdoor expeditions are at the mercy of Mother Nature and her cooperation is not guaranteed. There is nothing we hate more than having this happen and in the event you are unable to reschedule, we want to be sure you get properly reimbursed for your missed trip as well as your travel and hotel expenses. Travel insurance will provide that reimbursement.