Northern Lights 300 race rulesHere are the 2018 Northern Lights 300 and Northern Lights 150 race rules and forms in PDF format. The forms are to be PRINTED, FILLED OUT, AND MAILED. Racers are strongly encouraged to also print out the rules so that you will have a hard copy for easy reference.

For anyone else interested, the rules can also be read on this page, below.

Download: 2018 NL300/150 Entry Forms (PDF document, 88kb)

Download: 2018 NL300/150 Race Rules (PDF document, 194kb)

Pre-Race Vet Check Form ( for mushers who opt NOT to come to the vet check at Happy Trails on January 24th)


The Northern Lights 300/150 Sled Dog Races (NL 300) are organized and managed by volunteers and are recognized by both Iditarod and Yukon Quest as a qualifying races. The races are designed to test mushers’ preparedness, endurance and skills in a remote, wilderness setting. The races assess their ability to care for themselves and their dogs, and complete a challenging course in a competitive manner. The NL 300 relies on musher camaraderie, volunteerism, and excellence in dog care; promoting the sport of distance mushing in South Central Alaska.


A. ENTRIES. Entry fee for 300 is $400.00; for the 150 is $200 in US funds only.
Please make checks payable to Northern Lights 300 (for both races). Please mail fully completed race application and checks/money order to: Sue Allen 7362 W Parks Hwy # 252 Wasilla, AK 99623. Entry is considered official when entry form with all required information is submitted and entry fee is paid in full.



Envelopes received on or before October 2 will be opened in random order after 4:00 pm on October 2nd. Applications received after October 2nd, will be assigned start positions in the order entries are received. Maximum race field for 300 is 40 teams; 150 maximum is 10 teams. Once 40/10 entries are received all applications and checks will be returned. THERE WILL NOT BE A WAIT LIST AND NO REFUNDS. If you have officially registered for the race and decide not to race, you may sell your spot to another musher pre-approved by the NL race committee.

The NL 300 race committee is a totally volunteer organization and reserves the right to deny entry to anyone not in good standing with NL 300,Iditarod,Yukon Quest or deemed unprepared at the time of the race. No one under the age of 18 will be granted entry without pre-approval from the NL 300 Race Marshall. Any musher/team deemed unprepared by race date to safely complete the race course, may be withdrawn.

B. MANDATORY DRIVERS’ MEETING for the 300 will be held Friday, January 26, 2018 at 8:00 AM (150 drivers’ meeting will be at 2:00 pm) at Happy Trails Kennels (HTK). Mushers not present for roll call will launch three minutes after the last scheduled team; however, their official time will begin at their originally scheduled starting time. All rules announced at the meeting will be final and all mushers responsible for abiding by those rules.

C. COMPLEMENTARY VETERINARY EXAM will be on Wednesday, January 24th, at Happy Trails Kennels from 9:00am – 2:00pm. Please arrive at HTK at assigned time by last name: A-I, 9:00am, J-Q, 10:30am; R-Z, 12:00pm. Mushers must provide proof of current vaccinations for distemper, parvo and rabies at time of vet check. Alternately, mushers may present a certificate of pre-race exam conducted no earlier than one week prior to race start. Vet check sheets are available for downloading on

D. FOOD DROPS must be delivered to Deshka Landing between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 24, 2017 to be eligible for delivery to the checkpoints. All food must be clearly marked with the musher’s name and the checkpoint to which it is to be delivered. The Committee will not be responsible for food delivered before or after the scheduled time. There is no limit on the number of drop bags, however, no bag can weigh more than 50 pounds. To increase the chance that your bags are delivered to the correct checkpoint please use clean, well marked bags.
** The race will NOT be hauling any return bags back.

E. DROPPED DOGS: Dogs may be dropped at any official checkpoint and will be flown back to HTK at no cost to the musher. Mushers must make arrangements for pick-up and care of dogs returned to Happy Trails. The Committee accepts no financial or legal responsibility for dropped dogs. Mushers wishing to transport their own dropped dogs may do so.

F. There will be a NON-MANDATORY finishers’/volunteers’ banquet at HTK Sunday evening at 6:00pm, January 28, 2018.

G. PURSE: No part of entry fees will be used for a purse. If any monetary corporate sponsorship is received, it will be used exclusively to provide a purse. Sponsorship information will be updated as received. Please check website and/or FaceBook for updates.

H. CONTEST FOR FREE ENTRY! We will have a “contest within the contest” for 300 racers. During the musher meeting, each musher will submit their projected finish day and time. The musher who comes closest to their projected finish time will receive a full refund of their entry fee.


Rule #1. Start/Finish:
Start of 300 : Friday, January 26, 2017 @ 11:00AM; Start of 150 is 4:00PM at Happy Trails Kennels, Big Lake. Finish: Happy Trails Kennels.
Teams will launch from their trucks in 2 minute intervals. Trucks will be parked in assigned areas designated by bib number. Bibs must be prominently displayed while on the trail. Mushers unable to start in their allotted times must wait until three minutes after the last scheduled musher. Mushers must start with a minimum of nine (9) dogs and a maximum of fourteen (14) dogs for the 300 and minimum of eight (8) dogs and maximum of twelve (12) dogs for 150 and travel and finish with no less than five (5) dogs in harness and on the tow line.

Rule #2. Trail.
Mushers must follow the marked and described race trail. Leaving the trail for competitive advantage is prohibited.

Rule #3. Help.
Mushers must accept no help other than by officials on the trail or in checkpoints, and are always responsible for all elements of their dogs’ care. In emergency situations, mushers may accept help from fellow racers. A musher may use any means to recover a lost team, or to save a dog.
The race judge or marshal will adjudicate time advantages resulting from the use of outside or motorized assistance. Mushers involved must report all such assistance. (Iditarod Rules #18-19)

Rule # 4. Checkpoint Protocol.
Mushers must sign in and sign out at each layover checkpoint. To aid in efficient signing in at checkpoints, please place your bib where it is clearly visible to the checkers as you are arriving. Questions as to water, food, dogs or trail should be directed to checkers and race officials only. No outside assistance is allowed. A musher cabin is available at Yentna Station (you may not sleep in the lodge at Yentna). Talvista Lodge will be open for sleeping. There will be a tent available for mushers on the lake at Winter Lake Lodge. Indoor/tent facilities may become crowded so all mushers should be prepared to sleep with their teams. Water may not be provided at Yentna Station or Talvista Lodge so be prepared to melt snow, water will be available through a hole in lake ice at Winter Lake Lodge. The race will supply 6 cans of Heet and a bale of straw per checkpoint. Plan accordingly to carry enough Heet to allow for severe weather conditions. If you plan on camping and require more straw you must carry it.
Dropped dogs must be left with adequate food per dog, a cable neckline attached to its collar, a completed, legible dropped dog form and an assigned dog tag attached to dog’s collar. No dog shall be dropped without oversight and care of an official vet, or his or her assistant. Any musher entering a checkpoint after the vet crew has left will be subject to withdrawal (at the race marshal’s discretion). Mushers may not officially sign into a checkpoint without all dogs that left the previous checkpoint. Dropped dogs may not be returned to the team.

Leg #1:Happy Trails Kennels (HTK) to Yentna Station – (~75 miles).

Leg #2: Yentna Station to Winter Lake Lodge (~75 miles)

Leg #3: Winter Lake Lodge to Talvista Lodge (~42 miles)

Leg # 4 Talvista Lodge –Yentna Station (~45 miles)

Leg #5 Yentna Station to Happy Trails Kennels (~75 miles).

MANDATORY LAYOVERS FOR 300. All teams must accumulate a total of 18 hours (+start differential) of layovers. All teams are required to take a mandatory 4 hour (+start differential) at Yentna #1 (outbound) the additional 14 hours of layovers may be taken at musher’s discretion at any of the official checkpoints. Mushers will be issued a layover time card at the musher meeting and are responsible to assure they complete the mandatory rest.

MANDATORY LAYOVERS FOR 150. A six (6) hour (+ start differential) is mandatory at Yentna Station. Dogs may be dropped here. All dropped dog rules will apply.

Rule #5.Litter.
All litter must be properly disposed of at checkpoints in designated areas and may not be left at camping spots, other spots along the trail, or layover spots. Straw will not be considered litter.

Mushers will be directed where to leave trash at checkpoints. Gear left at any checkpoints will be discarded by race officials.


Rule #6. Passing.

When any team approaches within 50 feet of another team, the team behind has the immediate right- of-way upon demand. The musher ahead must stop his dogs and hold them to the best of his/her ability for a maximum of one minute or until the other team has passed, whichever occurs first. The passed team must remain behind at least fifteen minutes before demanding the trail. The passing rule does not apply in No Man’s Land, which will be identified to mushers at the pre-race mushers’ meeting. Be alert for head on passes between Finger Lake lodge and Talvista Lodge in very tight areas. Mushers should work together for safety during the pass and the incoming musher should yield to the outbound team if necessary.

Rule #7.Sled.
You must finish with the same sled you start with.

Rule #8.Mandatory Equipment.
Each musher must carry the following at all times:

• Cold weather sleeping bag
• Ax – minimum handle length 22 in.
• Minimum two sets of booties for each dog (either on the dogs or in the sled)
• Operational cooker and pot capable of boiling at least three gallons of water
• One pair of snowshoes with bindings– minimum 252sq. in coverage.
• Adequate amount of fuel to bring three gallons of water to a boil
• Two pounds of dog food per dog, at start and when leaving all checkpoints
• All dropped dogs require a 16 to 18 inches cable neckline attached to its collar with a snap on one end and a loop on the other. If the dog you wish to drop does not have a cable neckline, you will have to carry it home.
• Activated Spot Tracker

Rule #9.Dogs.
A. All dogs are subject to a mandatory veterinary examination prior to, during, or immediately after the race. Dogs not deemed fit to begin or continue the race may be removed from the race at the discretion of the veterinarian
The race veterinarian may require the musher to delay his/her team at a checkpoint if the veterinarian believes the dogs in the team require additional rest.
B. No injectable substances, performance-enhancing prescription drugs, drugs masking pain or illness, or force feeding or watering may be used on any dog, which is to continue the race. Any dog so treated will be dropped.

Rule #10. Humane Treatment Standards.
Unsafe or inhumane treatment of dogs is not permitted. Whips may not be carried or used during the race. Nothing in these rules will prohibit a dog from being removed from this race at the musher’s discretion in a dire emergency.

Rule #11. Dog Deaths.
Any dog which dies on the trail must be transported in the sled, completely under cover, to the next checkpoint. The dog will be necropsied by the veterinarian. This procedure will be at the musher’s expense. The musher may, at the discretion of the chief veterinarian and the race marshal, continue the race. A cooperative or mandatory delay may be necessary.


Rule #12. Sportsmanship.
Mushers must conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner at all race functions. Conduct detrimental to the Northern Lights 300, its Race Committee, sponsors, volunteers, spectators or competitors is subject to penalty and musher will forfeit good standing with NL 300. Unsportsmanlike behavior on the race trail may result in time penalties, disqualification, and/or banning from future NL 300 races. Traditional race logic and customary courtesy will prevail.

Rule #13. Protest.
Any observed violations of the race rules should be reported to a race official at the next checkpoint or at the time of finish.

Rule #14. Penalties.
Rule violations subject the violator to the following range of penalties:
1. Time delays
2. Withdrawals (under Rules #4, #10, #12)
3. Disqualifications
4. Banning from future NL 300 races


Helpful hints: Due to issues that have come up in past races, these hints are provided to help assure your race runs as smoothly as possible.

NO WAIT LIST, NO REFUNDS! If you need to withdraw prior to the start of the race, sell your spot to any musher who is in good standing with the NL 300. Please notify the Race Manager of your decision to withdraw as we can help you find a musher to buy your spot.
Best to use clean food drop bags or turn used ones inside out and print large and legible. Bags may be loaded and unloaded in the dark and our volunteers are handling 8,000+ lbs. of gear.
Have your vet checks done by your vet if you don’t want to have to come to HTK the Wednesday before the race. Forms available on website.
Do not “over stay” at checkpoints. Plan only the amount of rest necessary for the dogs. We have experienced mushers, vets, checkers at each checkpoint. They are there to provide feedback, so ask! These volunteers are professional people that are leaving jobs and practices to work the race. Unless there is some extenuating circumstance, we will be flying staff out of Yentna before dark on Sunday. We don’t take pulling race staff lightly, but we also won’t require these volunteers to lose another day of work if there is no legitimate reason for it.
Check FaceBook frequently. It is our best tool for updating information in a timely fashion. Emails will be sent and website updated for very important information. Race rules and the trail may have to change based on conditions.