Trails

The refuge offers year-round access to hiking trails from 1/2 hours before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset. 

Public Use Brochure

The Prairie Trail on the Wildlife Drive will be under construction this fall to repair the boardwalk. The trail will be closed to use during construction and is expected to open back up in Spring 2024. 

Blue Hill Trail

Open Season: Year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Not open to biking.
Location of trail: Trailhead is off of Sherburne County Road 9, 1.2 miles west of refuge headquarters
Surface: Natural, Bridges
Amenities: Parking lot, restrooms, observation decks and benches along the trail
Information: Five miles in total, this hiking trail has three loops that take you through prairie, oak savanna and coniferous habitats. Venture up to the overlook for a vista of the surrounding area, as Blue Hill is the highest point in Sherburne County. This is also the place on the refuge to spot natural rock deposits left behind by glaciers.
Trail Length (mi)
5.19
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / intermediate
Moderate
Route Type
Loop
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
View Trail

Mahnomen Trail

Open Season: Year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Not open to biking.
Location of trail: Trailhead is off of Sherburne County Road 9, 0.2 miles east of refuge headquarters
Surface: Natural, Boardwalk
Amenities: Parking lot, restroom, benches along the trail
Information: Three miles in total, this hiking trail has three loops that take you through prairie, oak savanna and wetland habitats. Prime for birding, the edge habitat and trail are popular during spring and fall migrations. This trail is open to hunting only during the November firearm deer season, with signage posted at the trailhead alerting visitors during that time frame. During the winter months, it is groomed for classic cross-country skiing when snow levels are sufficient.
Trail Length (mi)
3.10
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Loop
View Trail

Beaver Lodge Loop Trail

Open Season: Year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Not open to biking.
Location of trail: Trail begins at the Oak Savanna Learning Center and can be accessed from the Overlook Loop Trail or the Black Bear Pond Trail
Surface: Crushed granite, Accessible
Amenities: Parking lot, restrooms, bench along trail
Information: This nearly half-mile trail is a part of the Oak Savanna Learning Center trails and loops through oak savanna, prairie and wetland habitats.
Trail Length (mi)
0.46
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
System
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Black Bear Loop Trail

Open Season: Year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Not open to biking.
Location of trail: Trail begins at the parking lot on Black Bear Loop Access Road and can be accessed from the Beaver Lodge Loop Trail
Surface: Crushed granite, Accessible
Amenities: Parking lot, restrooms, benches along trail, observation blind
Information: This one-mile trail is a part of the Oak Savanna Learning Center trails and take your through oak savanna, prairie, deciduous forest and wetland habitats. The observation blind is a popular spot for photography and wildlife watching.
Trail Length (mi)
1.02
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
System
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Old School House Loop Trail

Open Season: Year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Not open to biking.
Location of trail: Trail begins at the parking lot on School House Road near Sherburne County Road 9 and can also be accessed from Overlook Loop Trail
Surface: Natural, Bridge
Amenities: Parking lot, restrooms
Information: This half-mile trail is a part of the Oak Savanna Learning Center trails and takes you through deciduous forest habitat. During the spring and fall migration, this area is a hotspot for songbirds.
Trail Length (mi)
0.54
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
System
View Trail

Overlook Loop Trail

Open Season: Year round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Not open to biking.
Location of trail: Trail begins at the Oak Savanna Learning Center and can be accessed from the Old School House Loop Trail and the Beaver Lodge Loop Trail
Surface: Crushed granite, Accessible
Amenities: Parking lot, restrooms, observation dock, bench along trail
Information: This quarter-mile trail is a part of the Oak Savanna Learning Center trails and has oak savanna and wetland habitats. The floating dock is a popular destination.
Trail Length (mi)
0.20
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
System
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Bur Oak Trail

Open Season: Year-round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Not open to biking.
Location of trail: Bur Oak Welcome Station on the Prairie’s Edge Wildlife Drive (access by vehicle spring through fall)
Surface: Crushed granite, Accessible
Amenities: Parking lot, restrooms, picnic tables, bench, kiosk, observation decks
Information: This short trail takes you through oak savanna, a habitat that has become rare within the state. This flat loop is accessible and there are two picnic tables located near or on the trail.
Trail Length (mi)
0.18
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Loop
View Trail

Prairie Trail

Open Season: Year-round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Not open to biking.
Location of trail: Trailhead is at mile 1.5 of the Prairie’s Edge Wildlife Drive (access by vehicle spring through fall)
Surface: Crushed granite, Boardwalk, Accessible
Amenities: Parking area
Information: This trail meanders through open prairie and scattered oak savanna. During the late spring, summer and fall, the colors and blooms change weekly and buzz with bees and butterflies. Visit in early to mid-June to see the wild lupine at peak bloom.
Trail Length (mi)
0.45
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Loop
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Woodland Trail

Open Season: Year-round - walking spring to fall, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Not open to biking.
Location of trail: Trailhead is at mile 5.2 of the Prairie’s Edge Wildlife Drive (access by vehicle spring through fall)
Surface: Crushed granite, Accessible
Amenities: Parking area
Information: This trail loops through deciduous forest habitat and is a hotspot for warblers and songbirds during spring and fall migrations.
Trail Length (mi)
0.47
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Loop
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

CR4 Fishing Access Trail

Trail Length (mi)
0.16
View Trail

Nelson Pool Trail

Trail Length (mi)
0.02
View Trail

Santiago Fishing Access Trail

Trail Length (mi)
0.48
View Trail

The Forks Fishing Access Trail

Trail Length (mi)
0.27
View Trail