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)
Follow Us Online
Refuge wetlands provide habitat for up to 40 pairs of breeding sandhill cranes each year. The unison call of these tall, stately birds is a treat to hear in spring, and by mid-summer, an observant visitor may be treated to the sight of one or two rusty-colored ‘colts,’ following their parents and learning to forage on insects and other invertebrates.