Near Wasilla, Knik boasts a rich sled-dog history, since it's the home of many Alaskan mushers and checkpoint 4 on the route. For more information about this uniquely Alaskan race, stop in at Iditarod Trail Headquarters. The log-cabin museum's most unusual exhibit is Togo, the famous sled dog that led his team across trackless Norton Sound to deliver serum to diphtheria-threatened Nome in 1925 - a journey that gave rise to today's Iditarod.

He's been stuffed and is now on display. Outside, you can get a short sled-dog ride (around US$10, from 09:00 to 17:00) on a wheeled dogsled. The Iditarod, a famous 1100-mile dogsled race to Nome, begins in Anchorage - but only for the sake of appearances. At the end of a short run in Anchorage, the teams wave goodbye to the cameras, pack up their dogs and sleds, and drive to snowier country up north for the 'restart.' Wasilla serves as the second official starting point for the race, though the lack of snow often pushes the restart north to Willow.