Dog Sledding & Skijoring in Cook County
Dogsledding is synonymous with the lifestyle in Northeastern Minnesota.
Dogsleds were the original snowmobiles, transporting people across the snow-frosted forests and ice-kissed lakes of the north. Mix irresistible dogs with beautiful snow, and you’ve got the recipe for a winter adventure you won’t forget. Whether trying it yourself or attending one of our iconic events, experiencing dogsledding while you are in Cook County is a must do and see adventure.
Cook County is host to a few dogsled races throughout the year:
- Gunflint Mail Run Sled Dog Race | First Weekend in January
A spectator-friendly event starting and finishing at Trail Center on the Gunflint Trail. There are two classes: a 12-dog, 110-mile race, and an 8-dog, 70-mile race. View a map of the race trail.
- John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon | Last Weekend in January
Established in 1980, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is the longest sled dog race in the lower 48 states. The event extends from Duluth to Grand Portage through the rugged Sawtooth Mountains.
Experience dog sledding first-hand with dog sledding adventures offered by Points Unknown Dogsledding and Mindful Paddling & Hiking Adventures, located off of the Arrowhead Trail in Hovland, and with Ely-based Cast Outdoor Adventures, offering dog sledding experiences in Cook County starting winter 2023/2024.
Ever try cross country skiing or “skijoring” with your pet? When the conditions are good, skijoring across a frozen lake will satisfy both you and your dog’s need for adventure. Also, there are a handful of dog-friendly cross country trails. Be sure to check at the trailhead before you head out with your pooch, or you may get ticketed if on a trail that does not allow dogs.
These family events encourage all abilities to enter skijoring events:
- Pincushion Winter Festival Ski Race and Tour | Mid-February A day of winter sports events on Pincushion Mountain Trails just north of the town of Grand Marais.
- Dog Days of Winter Sled Dog Derbies & Skijoring Races | March
Dog Days of Winter is sponsored by Go Dog North Shore and Trail Center Lodge on the Gunflint Trail, and includes sled dog derbies, skijoring races, snowman competition, a bonfire and yummy snacks. All welcome (but please leave your non-competing pets at home).
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