Dog Sledding in Salida

Meet up with Monarch Dog Sled Rides, near Salida and Buena Vista, for winter fun with fluffy canines in Colorado’s snowy great outdoors. Sledding adventures run the latter part of November to April, weather permitting, and advance reservations are required. Here are four reasons you’ve got to try this dog-lovin’ sport.

Dog sledding near Salida with blue sky in background
Dog sledding near Salida
Girl with a puppy at Monarch Dog Sled Rides
Girl with a puppy at Monarch Dog Sled Rides
A woman and two children smile on a dog sled with dogs in background
Smiles on a dog sled
A Monarch Dog Sled Rides dog-sled team
Dog sledding with Monarch Dog Sled Rides

1. It’s fun for the whole family.

This is a winter activity your whole gang will appreciate. Monarch tours are private and bookable for groups and family members ages 3 and up. Up to two sleds at a time can travel through a forest of pine, spruce and fir trees, making for lifelong family memories and lots of gorgeous photo ops. Outings leave thrice daily — at 10am, noon and 2pm.

Hint: A small sled can carry two passengers, and the big sled carries two to four people including children or three adults max.

2. You’ll love all the friendly doggos.

Monarch’s dog-sled teams range in size — anywhere from eight to 14 smiling Alaskan huskies, depending on the weather and sled weight, plus an experienced human guide. You’ll spend part of your tour time being schooled on the sport of mushing, meeting the dogs and learning how to harness them. Most of these working dogs are specially bred in Alaska and trained to pull — you’ll find out fast that they love their jobs as they yip and gallop, kicking up snow, with the sled trailing quickly behind.

Fun fact: You’re able to adopt a retired Monarch sled dog; just ask during the tour or visit Monarch’s website for more details.

3. You can head off the beaten path.

Monarch’s bright-eyed pups are ready to run, and your team of prancing canines will lead you through the towering forest and past a rushing stream, all the while giving you panoramic views of sky-scraping thirteeners and fourteeners (what Coloradans call 13,000 and 14,000-foot peaks) and, of course, their puffy rumps. The ride itself takes about 35 minutes, and you’ll travel into the San Isabel National Forest southeast of Monarch Mountain Ski Area.

Pro tip: Dog sleds travel anywhere from 5 to 12 miles an hour depending on whether snow conditions are packed or powdery. This means you’ll be moving swiftly through Colorado’s wintry landscape, no matter the weather, and you’ll want to dress accordingly. Wear warm clothing and dress in layers that include waterproof snowpants, insulated gloves, winter boots and a cozy hat that covers your ears.

4. You’ll experience the snow-fluttering magic of Salida in winter.

Picture yourself catching sight of snowcapped peaks and powder pillowed on needled tree branches while riding behind 14 yapping dogs along a snow-paved path. Your breath steams up your polarized sunglasses just a little bit as you gaze at winter-white clouds puff lazily across a cerulean-blue sky. A wind gust blows sparkling flakes of snow from nearby branches, and it shimmers down around your sled that’s rocketing forward as the guide calls out “Mush!” in encouragement. A Monarch dog-sled ride is a bucket-list-worthy winter adventure, for sure, and a way to appreciate Colorado’s winter at its finest.

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Learn more about dog sledding near Buena Vista and Salida
More fun winter sports in the area
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