2024 Iditarod Sled Dog Race

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is one of Alaska’s iconic winter events, and the excitement traditionally starts in Anchorage on the first Saturday of March each year. The race start is set for Anchorage on March 2, 2024 — marking the 52nd anniversary of the "Last Great Race."

A Downtown Start for Iditarod

The traditional Iditarod course begins on Fourth Avenue at D Street and runs to Campbell Creek Science Center. Onlookers get a close-up view of the teams. Spectators flock to the start line downtown or stake out a spot further down the 11-mile route through Anchorage. After a restart at Willow the following day, Iditarod mushers and their dogs battle the elements and test their limits across the trail. The course stretches approximately 1,000 miles from Southcentral Alaska to Nome.

5 Great Iditarod Trip Ideas

  1. Visit a Kennel

    In the weeks leading up to the Iditarod, mushers open their kennels for tours, and many offer to teach the tricks of managing a team of dogs. Hop on the runners of a sled and try dog sledding yourself.
  2. Attend the Banquet

    The Musher’s Banquet is the Thursday before the start at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage. Mushers draw their starting order at the gala, which features a plated dinner and plenty of time to meet the mushers.
  3. Chase the Race

    You can also follow the Iditarod by air on a special flightseeing package or take a snowmobiling tour to cheer on the amazing four-legged athletes as they make their way to Nome. Winterlake Lodge serves as a checkpoint and fills up fast during the dates teams pass through.
  4. Ride the First Miles on Race Day

    For a sample of what awaits on the trail, secure a spot in one of the Iditarod contenders’ sled baskets during the Anchorage ceremonial start. Spots for this once-in-a-lifetime experience are limited and are auctioned off in December and January to the highest bidders in the IditaRider Auction.
  5. Volunteer

    Volunteers help handle dogs on start day, communicate with checkpoints, monitor race updates, and more. The volunteer spots offer everyone interested a way to lend a hand and participate in the Iditarod.

Events Surrounding Iditarod

The start of the Iditarod coincides with other great winter events. Anchorage Fur Rendezvous is one of the largest winter festivals in the world and finishes a 10-day run on the weekend of Iditarod.  The Running of the Reindeer, a dash down Fourth Avenue with live reindeer, is on the afternoon following the Iditarod Start. The Charlotte Jensen Native Arts Market, snow sculpture competition, and Miners and Trappers Ball are also on Saturday.

Dog sleds aren’t the only thing sliding along the trails. The Tour of Anchorage, a community cross-country ski race, takes to the trails on the day following the Iditarod start in Anchorage. It’s also a great time to check out downhill skiing at Hilltop Ski AreaArctic Valley, and Alyeska Resort.