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People have been dog sledding for thousands of years, but it has a particular significance in Minnesota. In the past, dog sledding was one of the few ways to get around during snowy winters, and many people relied on it as a form of transportation and communication. While dog sledding is no longer a necessity, it’s easy to see why many Minnesotans keep the tradition alive. You’ll witness stunning views and a beautiful network of streams and lakes to navigate and admire while eight fluffy dogs take you on a spectacular ride.

The dog sledding traditions of Northern Minnesota are kept alive not only by adventure groups that book dog sled runs but also with dog sled races. Many of these dog sled races take place along historic dog sled routes and most of the competitors are guides for dog sled adventures.

The Gunflint Mail Run:
Held annually during the second full weekend of January, the Gunflint Mail Run consists of two races: a 12-dog 100-mile race and an 8-dog 65-mile race. Watching the race's start and the beautiful blessing of the dogs from the Trail Center Lodge is quite a sight. Since the race covers so much area, you can also view the teams mid-race from the White Pine Lodge or The Rockwood Lodge. Seeing the community come together with the backdrop of the beautiful winter wilderness of Cook County makes for a trip to remember.

You can learn more about the Gunflint Mail Run here.

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon:
Named after a legendary dog sled runner who delivered mail between Grand Marais and Two Harbors, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is the largest dog sled race in the lower 48 states and is 300 miles long, where you can see world-class dog sledding. The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon serves as a qualifier for the Iditarod Dog Sled Race in Alaska. This popular race can be viewed from the start or any of the checkpoints along the course, which is open to the public, so you can be sure to see people enjoying hot chocolate, sitting around campfires, and waiting to catch a glimpse of these world-class racers.

You can read more about the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon and related events here.

Thinking about going dog sledding? Here’s what you need:
It’s important to remember how cold it will be when dog sledding. On short runs, dog sleds can get up to a speed of 20 mph, and if you’ve ever felt the windchill of a Minnesota winter, you know how cold that can be. So be sure to dress warm with wind-resistant clothes and snow goggles so you don’t miss the views as you race along frozen lakes or winter woods.

It's time to head out on an adventure. See the map below to see what dog sled adventure is closest to you.

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