Today was a winter wonderland in the DC area and it reminded me of one of the highlights of my Alaska trip last summer — the sled dog puppies at the Denali National Park Kennels. Sled dogs are still used to patrol most of the park and during the summer you can visit them. I’ll be honest, on past trips the sled dog demonstrations didn’t appeal, but this year one of the sled dogs had just had a litter of puppies! 😀
The puppies were an adorable hot mess with a very tired mom.
And an enthusiastic older brother who was eager to play with them.
The other sled dogs were less active, we’d caught them in the middle of their afternoon nap. We were lucky to get there about 30 minutes before the shuttles pulled up so we had time to hang out and pet some of the dogs without waiting in line.
They also have a small informational center which covers the history of sled dogs in Denali and their adopt a retiree program.
It was a fun experience, glad I did it. That said, if there hadn’t been the adorable puppies I probably could have skipped without feeling like I missed much.
Visiting the Denali Park Kennels
The kennels are located at mile 3.4 on the park road. They offer shuttles from the visitor center and there’s limited parking spaces, so if you want to drive there go well before one of the demonstrations in order to get a spot.
It’s a bit of a walk from the parking lot, a little less from the shuttle drop off, so be aware if you have mobility issues or tired kids.
It can be quite crowded when the shuttles arrive so if you want a little one-on-one time with the dogs, go well before or after the demonstrations.
The kennels are open 8AM-5PM and the dogs tend to nap in the afternoon. Dogs that are friendly can be petted, just make sure there isn’t a rope enclosure signaling to keep your distance.