Located about an hour outside of Anchorage, Happy Trails Kennel was started by four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser. A training facility, kennel and educational attraction in one, here visitors can learn about dog sled racing and life on the Iditarod Trail.
Buser is helped by a team of experts to provide guests with interactive experiences that include a 20-minute educational video in which Buser recounts his 28 years of sled dog racing and provides historical information about the trail. Afterwards, head to the log amphitheater to learn how the dogs are cared for, what equipment is used, what training is like, how strategies are planned and what it’s like to be a musher. You’ll hear stories about the journey from Willow to Nome, Alaska, before seeing the dogs in action as they are attached to a sled and excitedly run around. Finally, it’s time for the highlight for most: petting, cuddling and photographing these adorable (and talented!) dogs. There are about 60 dogs at the kennel in total, including sweet little puppies, so make sure to bring your camera.
To commemorate your time at the Happy Trails Kennel, you’ll get a souvenir to take home: a Iditarod dog bootie that the sled dogs wear to protect their feet in the snow. If you’re looking for a place to stay, Happy Trails Kennel also offers bed and breakfast accommodations.
Happy Trails Kennel offers tours from May 26 to September 1 at 2 p.m. daily, and the site is located at Mile 4.5 on West Lakes Boulevard in Big Lake.