Just Short of Magic
About
We offer dog sled rides ranging from a half-hour to one-and-a-half hours. Tour the beautifully forested Alaskan winter trails on a dog sled or drive the team. Our Dog Mushing School offers customized dog mushing lessons. Sled rides or lessons can be combined with educational kennel tours. Learn about amazing canine athletes, mushing equipment, and what it means to be a musher.
Fairbanks, Alaska
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Awards
Travelers' Choice
2022

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Just Short of Magic
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Travelers talk about
(143 reviews)
(37 reviews)
(34 reviews)
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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5.0
737 reviews
Excellent
706
Very good
22
Average
5
Poor
2
Terrible
3

gstrout
22 contributions
Sep 2022
Review for experience on 9/8/2022. The six of us loved this experience! Eleanor used her excellent communication and people skills to engage us by share animal experiences, her knowledge of local Alaska, and explain the many personalities and characteristics of her dogs. As many others have mentioned, the dogs are very docile, totally approachable, and well mannered ( I was expecting dogs to be jumping all over me, which a couple of them did once... but most just waited to be pet!) Mostly, they just want to sponge up some of your affection and caring to brighten their day, and they do know how to show appreciation! But, if you want to see some excited, happy dogs, just wait until Eleanor start picking the team for your ride - wow! We did one of the earliest training runs, which was about a mile zipping through the field and woods. We also had the opportunity to observe and participate in the feeding the dogs after the run...quite interesting to learn about the different diets they get fed depending on a number of things. If any of this sounds interesting to you we all would highly recommend you experience this for yourself, it is truly... just short of Magic.
Written September 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

slswenson2013
1 contribution
Nov 2022 • Family
We are much much wealthier now after spending a few hours in the presence of an extraordinary human being living her passion and sharing a glimpse into her world. Yes , we enjoyed a fabulous ride through a winter wonderland, and tender heart warming moments with her furry four legged family, but that all pales in comparison to the honor of being welcomed into Elinor’s home and life with overwhelming kindness. Thank you Elinor for a fabulous experience and beautiful memories.
Written November 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dona C
Mesa, Arizona, United States9 contributions
Feb 2020
We booked with Just Short of Magic the dog mushing school and it was awesome! We came early so we had time to meet the dogs and when we walked in the door the office is cozy and welcoming and we were immediately greeted by Mindy. She registered us right away, made sure we had the right clothing to keep us warm, and invited us to go meet and pet the sweet dogs. The dogs were all so friendly and loved the attention! When it came time for our tour, Eleanor was our instructor and guide. We learned about the Alaskan Husky, learned to harness a team and then hit the 7 mile round trip trail. Eleanor talked both my husband and I thru the mushing part and then we drove the sled all by ourselves with Eleanor in sled helping us to do our best. She was encouraging and so much fun! The ride and the driving were spectacular and you can feel how much she loves her dogs and her top priority is theirs and our safety and enjoyment. Then to top the day off, we stayed in the yurt for the night. It's warm and inviting and again Eleanor made us feel comfortable and welcome. A good nights rest and a lovely breakfast the next morning , served in the yurt and our memorable experience was over. Everyone there was so great!
We would highly recommend Just Short of Magic and if we are ever fortunate enough again to be in Fairbanks we will do it all over!
Thanks so much
Written February 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dona!, Your words touches our hearts! We are always thrilled to hear that our guests had a great experience at Just Short of Magic - whether visiting the dogs, learning about mushing, enjoying the ride through beautiful scenery, or staying in our cozy yurt. It makes us even more happy to hear that you experienced, and enjoyed, all of it! We definitely agree that our dogs are amazing! The are very friendly and love the attention from the guests. The also love to run and are incredible athletes! Eleanor, of course, as well as all the mushers who work with us love their dogs like family members. Their health and happiness is always their first priority. All mushers are very experienced. They love what they do and love sharing their knowledge and passion with the guests. We really enjoyed having you stay in our cozy yurt! It is a unique and memorable experience - especially if the northern lights are out! Thank you very much for your kind words! We would love to see you again! Warm wishes, Heloise
Written February 27, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

GiGi
Lexington, SC1 contribution
Mar 2022 • Friends
This was my favorite thing we did on our trip to Alaska. The entire experience from meeting the dogs, getting to know Eleanor and hearing her talk about her dogs, and the actual dog sledding adventure, was an experience I will never forget. The mushing trip itself was just beautiful through the snowy woods with all the birch and black spruce trees. It looks like a picture on a postcard and will forever be etched in my mind. I highly recommend.
Written March 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Christy E
23 contributions
Jan 2022 • Family
After a stressful drive over due to the awful ice on the road, I was feeling frazzled BIG TIME. Being from the south (Alabama) we decided to visit Alaska during January to experience “winter”. One thing we wanted to experience was a tour like this.

There were 3 of us, my mom has stability issues, multiple health issues & Eleanor was so accommodating. She truly made sure my moms ride was good and smooth for her. Also when it was time for myself & my son to go for a ride, we had a wonderful ride on the trails as well.

Being that I took the both trips at -20 below, I’m VERG thankful for the extra outer winter wear we were offered.

The trails were so smooth, so BEAUTIFUL, Eleanor was very knowledgeable, her love for her dogs shines & I would recommend this tour for all families.

Definitely a bucket list tour for my family!!! It was pretty magical for us.
Written January 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

workingabovethecloud
Amelia Island, FL48 contributions
Jan 2020
My husband and I took a 1 hour dog sled ride through the pristine white snow covered 7 mile trail. It was a winter wonderland. They helped us arrange transportation and our driver waited on us; it was very reasonable. We arrived, were greeted, given a little history of the location, fitted for ski pants, boots, parkas, hats and gloves. Then we met Darin, our musher/tour guide and a team of 10 amazing dogs. We sat down in the sleigh, while Darin stood to drive the dogs. These amazing dogs pulled us pull hill, down hill and on the flat trail. They trotted, ran and then walked at a pace that we would have to run to keep up. These dogs were so excited to be pulling and on the trail. Darin told us all about the dogs and the Iditarod and other races. Once of our dogs was even a 3rd place finisher and 2 other dogs were finishers. I asked a lot of questions about the work of the dogs and many other questions and found that these dogs thrive in the cold temperatures and long for the ability to do what they do. After Darin gave a snack to the dogs after our trip, he showed us how quick the dogs recover from the pull. Then we greeted each one of the team individually, getting kisses and lots of photos. Then we greeted all of the other dogs that did not get to pull the sled. They were all so excited for to be greeted and have their photos taken. We had a thrilling and exciting time. This is an excellent company. They give good care to customer service and customer relations and the dogs are well cared for. I highly recommend this company, it's not just a company to do tours, it is a way of life and they love their dogs.
Written January 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your very kind review and for sharing the details of your experience at Just Short of Magic! We are very lucky to have Darrin and the rest of the mushers who work with us and take guests on sled dog rides. Every single one of them love what they do, love their dogs as members of their family, and they truly enjoy sharing their passion for mushing with our guests. They are always happy to answers questions and share "tales of the trails". And of course all the dogs are amazing! Not only as athletes but also because they all have wonderful and loving personalities. Visiting every single dog in the yard is always a memorable time for our guests. We all strive to make our guests' experience at Just Short of Magic the highlight of their trip to Alaska. We are so glad that you had such a great time with us. We hope to see you again! Warmest wishes! Heloise
Written January 29, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Amanda T
9 contributions
Mar 2021
Traveling and making any kind of plans during this time was tough. We had to get COVID tested, and I was unsure if I would be able to cancel already made plans if I tested positive. Because of this, we booked a lot of things later than I normally would.

I initially had a different company on my list for dog sledding, but they were booked when I went to schedule However, I'm SO glad they were. NO ONE could've showed us a better time than Eleanor. We did the full 2 hour ride, and I HIGHLY recommend it. It wasn't put on by a large company where they were just putting you on a sled for 30 minutes then a line to have more people show up.

We showed up and got to hang out with the dogs in the kennel for about 15 minutes. Then, Eleanor showed us how to harness up all of the dogs ourselves and explained to us why each dog is where. This made it so much easier to understand why things were the way they were and it made it so much easier to remember the dogs' names!

While on the trail, we would stop and get to mush the sled with her, and I caught on pretty quickly, so I got to lead the sled myself while Eleanor sat in the sled. It was amazing to actually lead the dogs and learn so much more about them. If I'm ever back, I will 100% book this tour again with Eleanor!
Written March 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Martyk74
Corydon, IN3,937 contributions
Mar 2022
The name is spot on because the experience was magical. We absolutely loved our mushing school tour in March.
We visited with the dogs and got them harnessed. Eleanor was wonderful. She explained everything every step of the way and then let us help do harnessing and hook-up.
The sled ride was in a winter wonderland and was so peaceful and enjoyable. My husband and I took turns driving the sled. Eleanor guided us and made sure we were comfortable and then let us drive by ourselves while she rode in the sled giving us directions. We took this task very seriously and gave us a greater appreciation for the experience.
I can tell these dogs are loved and well cared for. They are doing what they are born to do and then retire and are adopted to live their golden years.
Be sure to dress warmly. There are parkas a boots available if what you bring isn't adequate.
I would highly recommend this experience.
Written April 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kristi
Kansas City, MO21 contributions
Jan 2021
This was the first time dog sledding for both my partner and I and we both really enjoyed the ride. Eleanor was truly spectacular- ready with fun dog sledding information, quick with answers to any question you might have, and full of great Alaska sightseeing recommendations. Her dogs were equally awesome, with all of their own fun quirks and personalities. We opted for the 30 minute ride, but I think a longer ride would've been a blast too. If you're looking for an exciting yet wholesome experience, look no further.
Written January 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ashe
Shinjuku, Japan2 contributions
Mar 2021
My partner and I loved our dog sledding ride! We chose the 45 minute one so we could appreciate the trail for a greater period of time. I highly recommend doing a longer ride as the trail you take is different and more scenic than others. Eleanor, the owner, was a kind and down to earth person who we felt very comfortable with. She allowed us as much time as we desired both before and after the sledding to visit with her dogs. She is a wealth of knowledge regarding mushing, training, and the history in Alaska of this tradition. I encourage you to pick her brain as she was more than happy to share the information. It was very obvious to my partner and I how much she loves her dog team/family by how carefully she looks after them. Our dog captains/leaders were a pair of siblings that has the most sweetest history that she shared with us. You would be doing yourself a disservice if you don't book with Eleanor at Just Short of Magic!
Written March 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Just Short of Magic (Fairbanks) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go