Here are the best places to watch the 2023 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage

The 2023 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race kicks off this weekend. Up first: the ceremonial start, which takes dog teams on a mini-tour of Anchorage, from bustling streets downtown to the end of the route at the Campbell Airstrip.

The ceremonial start begins at 10 a.m. Saturday near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and D Street downtown. Dog teams will take off in two-minute intervals for an 11-mile ride across town.

Here’s a list of prime viewing spots for ceremonial start spectators. And if you can’t make it in person, we’ve added information about livestreams and broadcasts at the bottom of this story.

1. Downtown

Come early to grab a key bleacher spot at the starting line or just hang out, talk with mushers, admire the dogs or eat a grilled hot dog and listen to the announcer count down each team’s departure. The most exciting spot on the ceremonial trail is the corner of Fourth Avenue and Cordova Street, where teams buzz around the soft, snowy turn at speeds that occasionally spill the sled and its rider — this is prime real estate.

2. Cordova Street and 16th Avenue

Now that the crowds have thinned out and the teams are out of the din of downtown, drivers are a little more responsive to fans who wish them good luck.


3. Chester Creek greenbelt

This is as intimate as it gets — some stretches are so quiet you can hear the dogs’ feet and runners of the sleds cruising along the snow in the distance. But it’s also close quarters along this trail, so be sure to give teams and drivers plenty of room to pass and, again, keep your dogs at home.

4. Goose Lake Park

This is tailgate central, where folks picnic and party while teams pass by. The environment is festive but definitely dialed back compared with the madness downtown.

5. Tudor Road overpass

Take your last urban chance to check out the dogs before they disappear into the woods — and traffic on Tudor Road in early afternoon is as urban as it gets around these parts. Just be sure to set up on either side of the overpass, not on the overpass itself; that space is reserved for the dogs.

6. Campbell Airstrip

These are some of the best in-Anchorage opportunities to see Iditarod dog teams running in their native setting. Excellent viewing is found along the forest-lined Campbell Airstrip, near the Campbell Creek Science Center and at BLM offices where mushers will pack for their trip to the restart in Willow.

Unfortunately the Science Center and BLM are closed this year, Kasuun Elementary is no longer a parking option and shuttle buses will not be available. There will be limited parking at Campbell Airstrip trailhead and at Abbott Loop Community Park. The Campbell Tract Facilities will be closed to private vehicles starting on Friday in preparation.

And we’re expecting some deep snow, so be prepared for the weather.

Livestreams and broadcasts

Livestreams will be available on the Iditarod’s official website, including a stream of the ceremonial start at 10 a.m. Alaska time on Saturday and the official restart at 2 p.m. Sunday. The ceremonial start will also be broadcast live on Channel 2 (NBC) in Alaska.

Related stories:

Meet the mushers of the 2023 Iditarod

Getting to Willow for Sunday’s 2023 Iditarod restart

When does the Iditarod start, and who’s competing? What to know ahead of the 2023 race

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is set to begin with its smallest field ever


The reintroduction of Jason Mackey

Countdown to Iditarod 2023: Tributes, jokes and celebrations as mushers pick starting order

Iditarod 2023: Tracking dropped sled dogs, a trail conditions update and a rookie’s lifelong dream

Teen who bested some of mushing’s big dogs tops junior field to earn spot at Iditarod ceremonial start

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