Visit Us

The visitor center is located 3 miles north of Coleharbor, North Dakota, on U.S. Highway 83 and 1 mile east of the highway. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm year-round, except Federal holidays. On the week day prior to a Federal holiday, we may be closed early.

The visitor center is fully accessible and features exhibits on prairie wetland and grassland habitat, migratory birds, night life of the refuge, John James Audubon, and Refuge history.  

A self-guided 'Green Building Tour' is available to visitors who would like to learn about the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 'Gold' certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. To earn the LEED gold certification, the building met a long list of standards for energy conservation, on-site renewable energy production, water efficiency, the use of recycled materials, and indoor environmental quality and control.  

An 8-mile gravel auto tour route begins near the visitor center and winds along the scenic south shoreline of Lake Audubon. Highlights include views of the lake, prairie wetlands, grasslands, and opportunities to observe many species of birds, mammals, and plants. 

Spring and fall migration are peak times to observe large concentrations of birds on Lake Audubon and in adjacent wetlands. An auto tour route brochure interprets signs along the way.

A one mile, self-guided trail begins on the north side of the visitor center. The trail starts with a one-half mile concrete loop. There is a one-half mile gravel extension loop that ties into the concrete path for those wanting to go a bit farther. The Prairie Nature trail winds through grasslands, planted trees, and along wetlands, allowing visitors to observe many species of native grasses, wildflowers, birds, and other animals. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail. 

The Refuge is open to hunting for deer (archery, rifle, and muzzleloader), and for late-season pheasant, grouse, and partridge. 

Walleye, perch, and northern pike are popular game fish in Lake Audubon. Ice fishing is permitted while ice covers the water. There is no open-water fishing on the Refuge portion of Lake Audubon.

The North Country National Scenic Trail passes through the Refuge. 

Activities

Welcome to your national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge
. Audubon National Wildlife Refuge provides a number of activities to enjoy nature throughout the year including hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography. Some of these activities are offered seasonally and have special regulations. To learn more about permitted activities, pick up a Refuge brochure when visiting or call Refuge staff at 701-442-5474 with any questions.

Trails

Prairie Nature Trail

Open Season: Year Round
Length: 0.64 miles
Location of trail: North of Visitor Center
Surface: Paved, ADA compliant
Difficulty:
 Moderate with some elevation changes
Information: The Trail is a short loop that begins on the north side of the visitor center and meanders through the prairie, planted trees, and along wetlands. Several overlooks with resting benches provide a great view of the prairie and Lake Audubon, and a chance to observe wildlife. The trail is open year-round but may become challenging in winter due to snow accumulation.

North Country Trail

Open Season: Year Round
Length: 13 miles
Location of trail: Starts on the Refuge near the main entrance, travels along the south side of Lake Audubon, and ends on the east side of the Refuge near the McClusky Canal headgate.
Surface: Unpaved, mowed, prairie trail
Difficulty:
 Moderate with some elevation changes
Information: Plan your hike, visit the North Country Trail's official webpage for maps, guidelines, and tips for making the most of your hiking experience. The trail offers fantastic views of the prairie, wetlands, and the south shore of Lake Audubon, and a chance to observe wildlife. The trail is open year-round. In the summer the trail is mowed but in winter the trail does not receive maintenance and becomes challenging depending on snow accumulation.

Other Facilities in the Complex

Audubon National Wildlife Refuge part of the Audubon Wetland Management District.  The District manages an array of private and fee-title land held by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Rules and Policies

Welcome to your national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge
. Audubon National Wildlife Refuge provides a number of activities to enjoy nature throughout the year including hunting, ice fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography. The Refuge does have areas that are closed to the public year-round or seasonally to provide important sanctuary areas for wildlife. To help protect and minimize disturbance to wildlife and its habitat, the Refuge has other rules and regulations regarding activities on the refuge. To learn more about permitted activities, pick up a Refuge regulation brochure when visiting or call Refuge staff at 701-442-5474 with any questions.

Special Use Permits

COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES 

Includes: workshops & wildlife viewing tours. Please note: photography and filming that takes place on areas closed to the public requires a permit. Application Form

For Commercial Winter Wildlife Viewing Permits, please submit a completed special use permit application, a digital copy of your liability insurance, and a guide and vehicle list no later than 5:00pm Friday, October 1, 2021 to Fred_Oslund@fws.gov

RESEARCH & MONITORING

Includes: biological work & geological monitoring. Application Form

GENERAL ACTIVITIES

All other permits. Application Form

For questions or to submit completed application form, please email Fred Oslund, Fred_Oslund@fws.gov

A minimum of ten business days is required to request a permit. 

Protecting the Refuge

For the protection of wildlife, habitat and other visitors, please observe the following regulations:

  • The Refuge is open from sunrise to sunset.
  • Vehicles must stay on designated roads.
  • Plants, animals, artifacts and other natural materials are protected and may not be disturbed.
  • Pets must be leashed or contained in a vehicle.
  • All litter must be packed out.
  • Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuge System lands must comply with all provisions of State and local laws. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations (50 CFR 27.42 and specific refuge regulations in 50 CFR Part 32).

 

Prohibited Activities

  • Open-water fishing
  • Horseback riding
  • Camping
  • Fires
  • Recreational water sports
  • Devices capable of shooting or directing a projectile or liquid at another person or wildlife

 

 

Locations

Audubon National Wildlife Refuge
3275 11th Street NW Coleharbor, ND 58531-9419

Audubon National Wildlife Refuge is located 3 miles north and 1 mile east of Coleharbor, North Dakota, from U.S. Highway 83. 

Hours
Visitor Center
Monday - Friday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM