The first Saturday of each March, Anchorage is filled with excitement, traditions and pavement pounding paws.
The legendary Iditarod dog sled race lays down the starter’s line from 4th Avenue to Campbell in Anchorage and finishes up in the west in Nome, Alaska. The nine- to 15-day race is trekked on the historic Iditarod Trail and includes teams of 12-16 dogs each and a Musher, or the dog team driver.
The race has been a part of the Alaskan tradition since the early 1900s, when a diphtheria epidemic broke out in Nome and a legion of mushers raced to get serum to heal the people. The serum saved many lives as the story of the race made headlines around the world. It wasn’t until the 1970s, however, that a group of historians got together and encouraged the race to be instigated again. It wasn’t long after that the race caught world recognition and fame.
The race is a ceremonial awakening for the town of Anchorage, as onlookers fill the streets to see the first 11 miles of the race. Iditarod is also around the same time as the Fur Rendezvous and Tour of Anchorage Events, so there is something to do before and after the commencement.
To get the best out of this historical attraction, you can win a spot in the Iditarod contenders’ sled baskets and get a close-up view. When the dogs are off, you can keep up with the races at the Millennium Alaskan Hotel Anchorage, the official Iditarod Headquarters.
Bundle up and let the races begin!
Learn more about other fun attractions in Anchorage.