Visit Us

Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge has many wildlife observation and outdoor recreation opportunities available. Check out our visit pages on this website, or call the refuge office for more information about visitor activities.


Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge offers a wide variety of seasonal and year-round accessible recreational opportunities that are wildlife compatible. Wildlife observation, bird watching, education, photography, hunting and fishing are all popular activities at Sand Lake.

Related Documents

Other Facilities in the Complex

Rules and Policies

There are lots of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the refuge. Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife related and doesn’t help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity. 


Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge
39650 Sand Lake DriveColumbia,SD57433

The refuge is open during daylight hours only. The visitor center restrooms are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Refuge interior lands, gates, and roads, including Wildlife Drive are open to the general public from April 1 through mid-October. Walk-in only access is allowed from February 1 to April 1. Roads may close periodically after April 1 due to weather conditions.

Driving Directions

The refuge is located 27 miles northeast of Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Directions to Sand Lake from Aberdeen: Take State Highway 12 east six miles to Brown County Highway 16 at Bath corner. Turn north onto Brown County 16 and follow brown directional signs. Headquarters visitor center is located on Brown County Highway 16 approximately 8 miles north of Columbia, SD. Or take State Highway 281 north to Highway 10 east. Travel on Highway 10 to Brown County 16. Follow brown directional signs to refuge headquarters, three miles south on Highway 16. 

Refuge Hours
Sunrise - Sunset
Headquarters and Visitor Center Hours
Monday through Friday,
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed on all federal holidays.