The refuge is open to the public during daylight hours only. The majority of the refuge is designated as a wildlife sanctuary and closed to all public access from March 1 - August 31 to allow wildlife to breed and raise their young free from human disturbance. The Prairie’s Edge Wildlife Drive is open from late April through October. The Blue Hill Trail is open all year, and available for cross-country skiing during winter months. The Mahnomen Trail is open all year, and available for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Hikers and snowshoers are asked to be respectful of tracks set by skiers and hike to the side of the trail. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times. No overnight parking, camping or fires are allowed. Horses, dogsleds, trail bikes and off-road vehicles are not permitted on refuge roads or trails. For more detailed information and a refuge map, download the Public use Regulations and Map below.
Public Use Regulations and Map (PDF)
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Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge, which is managed by Sherburne NWR Complex, is the smallest refuge in the NWR system. It also hosts one of only five common tern breeding colonies in Minnesota. This year Mille Lacs NWR is "terning" 100 and you're invited to our centennial celebration on Friday, June 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Father Hennepin State Park.