Atop the peaks surrounding Girdwood spans a maze of glaciers. One of those rivers of ice, Punchbowl Glacier, is home in the summer to teams of sled dogs and the team of humans who care for them. Add a helicopter flight to reach the site and you've got an ultimate Alaskan adventure.
The musher calls "on" and off they run.
The two-hour tour begins at the Girdwood Airport. Guests are given full glacier gear and a safety briefing before climbing aboard a sleek R44 helicopter. Along the flight, passengers see otherwise unreachable places as they climb over hidden lakes and hundred-foot waterfalls. At an altitude of 3,200 feet, the sled dog basecamp comes into view and, with the softest of landings, the canine fun begins.
The Iditarod sled dogs who reside at Punchbowl are enjoying a summer break of sorts. Training for winter races begins in early fall, but it's clear from the way they jump and howl at the mere sound of a sled on snow that they'd rather be running than resting. And run they do, sweeping the sled they're harnessed to onto a track around the perimeter of the glacier. Guests ride either seated in front or standing on the back rails with the musher manning the brake and calling directions. Upon returning to basecamp, guests are welcome to visit with the friendliest dogs and, if there happen to be a few in residence, meet sled dog puppies.
The tour operator provides guests with water-resistant outer layers, hats, gloves, and Neos overboots. While on the glacier, guests can take a break from the elements in a warming tent stocked with hot drinks and historical Iditarod race equipment.
What to Bring
The temperature on Punchbowl Glacier ranges widely depending on the weather, so dress in layers. Wear sturdy shoes. Don't forget sunglasses and a camera. Because little baggage space is available in the helicopter, guests must leave backpacks and bags at the tour operator hangar.
This tour requires a moderate level of physical ability, including stepping up into the helicopter and walking on soft snow. Accurate passenger weight is required for helicopter weight and balance. For safety reasons, passengers weighing 250 pounds and over (including clothing and gear) will be accessed a surcharge.
Transfers & Meeting Points
The tour operator provides free transportation to the airport from within Girdwood when arranged in advance. The tour departs from the Girdwood Airport. Parking for self-drive guests is available at the hangar. Passengers must check in 30 minutes prior to their departure time.
Rates & Dates
Here are the rates and operating dates for this product. Remember, we have a lowest price guarantee for nearly everything we sell.
Child rates apply to children under the age of 13.
Rates & Dates
5/15/23 (M) to 8/31/23 (Th)5/15/23 (M) to 8/31/23 (Th)
Comfort Class: $729.00
The rates above do not include taxes/fees of $25.00 per person and are subject to change without notice.
Departure times and locations are listed below. Click on a link for an interactive map.
"Highlight of the trip without a doubt! The helicopter ride was short but exciting. Loved seeing the dogs and puppies. Guide was a real character, and he shared a lot of information. Dog-sledding was fantastic!"