Marshland Wildlife Drive and Fishing Loop Closed 2022

Seney National Wildlife Refuge is repairing four bridges and water control structures on both the Marshland Wildlife Drive and Fishing Loop. The drives will be closed to all public access (vehicles, bikes, and foot traffic) when the repairs begin. We expect repairs to begin in early May. Check back for updates. Other access points are still available.

Visit Us

National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. At Seney National Wildlife Refuge you can take a break from your long drive with a relaxing walk on one of our many trails. Visitors can participate in several activities while visiting the refuge. 

Plan Your Visit

Driving Directions

Directions to Seney National Wildlife Refuge

From Highway M-28, turn south on M-77 in Seney and continue 5-miles to the Refuge Entrance Road. Turn right (west) – the visitor center is approximately one mile ahead on the right.

From US-2, turn north on M-77 in Blaney Park and continue 12 miles to the Refuge Entrance Road (2 miles north of Germfask). Turn left (west) – the Visitor Center is approximately one mile ahead on the right.

Directions to the Whitefish Point Unit of Seney National Wildlife Refuge

From Highway M-28 turn north on highway 123 at Newberry or Eckerman. At the town of Paradise take North Whitefish Point Road to the parking lot at the end of the road. The property is marked by a kiosk and boardwalk on the north east side.

Fees

There is no charge to visit the refuge.

Restrooms

Restrooms are available:

  • Inside the visitor center from May 15 to Oct. 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily including federal holidays.
  • An after-hours outdoor facility with running water is available near the headquarters office next to the fire tower from May 15 to Oct. 20.
  • Pit toilets are available at the Show Pool Shelters from May 15 to Oct. 20.
  • At the Whitefish Point Unit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society maintain restrooms for the complex in their gift shop building. Visitors to the point are welcome to use these restrooms.

Points Of Interest

Let our staff and volunteers at the visitor center help you plan your visit! This is a great place to start. We are happy to orient you to the refuge and the wildlife that lives here. The visitor center has an array of exhibits and hands on activities for families. The “Wonder of Nature” film is played upon request and showcases a year on the refuge, gives some history and gives visitors excellent views of wildlife and landscapes. Browse the Marshland Bookstore for field guides, t-shirts, natural history books and other souvenirs. Enjoy the spotting scopes on the observation decks and look for the osprey nesting across the pool.

What To Do

If you have 15-minutes.

  • Stop by the visitor center.
  • Enjoy a look around the Show Pool Shelters build by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s.
  • Take the quarter mile walk out to the observation deck on the Pine Ridge Nature Trail for a great view of pools and look for recent beaver activity.
  • Enjoy the observation decks around the visitor center and look for the osprey nest across the pool.
  • Go birding around the visitor center, some great little birds can be found in the trees, American bitterns, ducks, geese, swans and terns are frequently seen in the pools near the parking lots.

If you have one or two hours.

  • Take a hike on one of our nature trails.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Take a drive on the Marshland Wildlife Drive or Fishing Loop.
  • Go skiing on one of the groomed ski trails.
  • Enjoy the beach at Whitefish Point.

If you have half a day or more.

  • Paddle the Manistique River.
  • Enjoy a backcountry bike ride or hike.
  • Hike into the photo blind off Driggs River Road.
  • Go hunting or fishing.

Know Before You Go

Seney can be a buggy place. In the spring it is especially important to wear long sleeves and bug spray.

Remember to bring:

  • Sunglasses
  • Bug spray/head net/long sleeves and pants
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable shoes for walking/hiking
  • Dress in layers (mornings can be cool, but things may warm up as the day goes on).
  • In spring or fall be prepared for a wide swing in temperatures.
  • Dress warmly in winter.

Visitor Tips

  • Morning and evening are the best times to visit to see wildlife.
  • There is a wildlife sighting board at the visitor center.
  • Remember to check for ticks when you leave.
  • Before you visit you can check iNaturalist and eBird for recent sightings to see what other guests have seen.
  • All observation decks along the wildlife drive have spotting scopes.
  • Check out binoculars, guides and fishing equipment for your visit at the visitor center, they just need to be returned by the close of business.
  • Sunday to Wednesday are the least busy days to visit the refuge. Thursday and Saturday are our busiest days.
  • May is the best time to see spring migratory birds.
  • June – Aug. to see wildlife with young.
  • Sept. and Oct. are the best months for fall migratory birds.
  • July – Oct. are the least buggy months.
  • The first two weeks of Oct. are usually the best weeks for fall color.

 

Activities

Seney National Wildlife Refuge offers visitors a chance to get outside and explore the northwoods and waters. Stop in the visitor center, take a walk on one of our trails, bike the backroads, bring your camera, grab a fishing pole and see if you can catch a pike or perch or try hunting.

Trails

Seney National Wildlife Refuge has over 12 miles of trails located off the main campus, at the Show Pool Shelters and off of Robinson Road. The Whitefish Point Unit has an elevated boardwalk which takes visitors through cobblestone deposits and stunted jack pines out to the tip of the point. All trails are open year round to nature enthusiasts, photographers, hikers and runners. In the winter the trails off of Robinson Road, the Northern Hardwoods Trail System is groomed for Nordic skiing. Snowshoers are welcome but we ask they not step in the ski tracks. We ask you leave your four legged friends home when the ski trails are groomed, the holes their paws make in the snow reduce skiing enjoyment.

Trails

Tip-of-the-Point Trail

Open Season: Year-round. Daylight use only.
Location: Whitefish Point Unit. Trailhead near north edge of the parking lot.
Length: 0.25 miles (one way)
Surface: Hard. Surface Type: Wooden board walk.
Grade: Average 1%
Cross Slope: Average 1%
Trail Width: Minimum 48 inches, Average 60 inches
Information: This trail takes you nearly out to the end of the peninsula that reaches into Lake Superior. The boardwalk allows visitors an opportunity to see the fragile jack pine dune habitat without disturbing it. As you walk slightly above the sand and cobblestone, watch for a variety of dune plants near the ground and scan the trees for a perched birds. The jack pines which normally grow to 100-feet in height are stunted here, often growing to only about 20-feet tall. The point acts as a natural funnel for migrating waterbirds, passerines, and raptors making this a great trail for birders during migration. Start your hike at the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory. They have several bird feeders and benches located at the back of the building. Migratory and resident birds feast at these feeders and frequent sightings include blue jays, evening and pine grosbeaks, sparrows, nuthatches, and others. The end of the boardwalk offers a view of the lake and the shorebird shack. If you have binoculars or a spotting scope you may be able to locate the endangered piping plover nesting on the beach or see a wide variety of waterfowl using the water just off the point. In the spring be prepared for lots of mosquitoes!

 

Other Facilities in the Complex

Seney National Wildlife Refuge is a complex of refuges. The refuge’s staff manages the other refuges throughout northern Michigan including Harbor Island and Huron National Wildlife Refuges. It shares management of the Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge with Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. It also manages the Kirtland’s Warbler Wildlife Management Area. 

Rules and Policies

Please keep the following rules and regulations in mind while visiting the refuge.

Locations

Seney National Wildlife Refuge - Temporary Visitor Center
River Road Seney, MI 49883-9509

Seney National Wildlife Refuge is constructing a new Visitor Center and Headquarters office. While the new building is being constructed we will be welcoming people to our temporary visitor center off of River Road south of Germfask.

Driving Directions

From Germfask head south on Highway M-77 about 2 miles and turn right (west) on River Road (436) quarters. The visitor center is 2 miles down on the north side of the road.

From Blaney Park head north on M-77 to River Road (436) 7 miles. Turn left (west) on River Road. The visitor center is 2 miles down on the north side of the road.

Hours
Temporary Visitor Center Hours
May 17 to Oct. 20
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday (closed Federal Holidays).
Lands, Roads and Trails Hours
Daily
Dawn until dusk for approved activities.
Marshland Wildlife Drive Auto Tour Hours
Closed Temporarily for Bridge Construction in 2022 - Normally May 15 to Oct. 20
Daylight hours, including all federal holidays
Fishing Loop Auto Tour Hours - Closed Temporarily for Bridge Construction in 2022
Closed Temporarily for Bridge Construction in 2022 - Normally May 15 to Oct. 20
Daylight hours, including all federal holidays
Seney National Wildlife Refuge - Headquarters Office
1674 Refuge Entrance Road Seney, MI 49883
Hours
Refuge Headquarters Office Hours
Monday - Thursday
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
Fridays
8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m
Closed for all federal holidays.
The office may be closed due to weather if local school are closed.
Whitefish Point Unit - Tip-of-the-Point Trail