Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

Minnesota

(763) 389-3323

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is located in the St. Francis River Valley, which is known as one of the finest wildlife areas in the state. It was established in 1965 to help protect and restore the historic St. Francis River Valley. Today this 30,700-acre refuge encompasses oak savanna, prairie opening and wetland habitats which are home to an astounding array of wildlife.

With 23 impoundments and numerous natural lakes and wetlands, the refuge provides habitat for a variety of waterfowl, wading/water birds, and bald eagles. White-tailed deer, eastern bluebirds, gopher snakes, and other species associated with oak savanna and prairie habitats benefit from upland management. The refuge is a major greater sandhill crane nesting and staging area. The flat-to-gently-rolling topography of the refuge lies within the transition zone of two major ecosystems - deciduous hardwood forest and tallgrass prairie. There are approximately 14,000 acres of wetlands and natural lakes, 8,000 acres of grassland openings, 8,000 acres of woodlands and oak savanna, and 35 river miles on the St. Francis River.

Map of Sherburne NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 45.524967, -93.821919

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Activities

  • Boating

    Canoeing is permitted on Battle Brook south of Little Elk Lake and on the St. Francis River south of Battle Brook. Use is limited to daylight hours. Overnight camping and campfires are not permitted.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Visitors may take the 7.3-mile Prairie's Edge Wildlife Drive at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge and discover the excitement of seeing wildlife just as it may have been 150 years ago when the first settlers came to this area. This 30,700-acre Refuge is a mosaic of oak savanna, wetlands, and big woods habitats; a transition zone between the forested areas common in eastern Minnesota and the tallgrass prairie of Western Minnesota, established in 1965 to preserve a piece of this vanishing natural heritage. Examples of oak savanna and wetland habitats and their associated wildlife await you now on Prairie's Edge Wildlife Drive. The Drive is open during daylight hours from late April through October.

  • Fishing

    All fishing, including ice fishing, is confined to the St. Francis River access points identified on the Refuge recreation map. State regulations apply.

  • Hiking

    The Refuge offers two scenic hiking trails, the Mahnomen and Blue Hill, both located on County Road 9. The trails are for foot travel only. Bicycles and horses are not permitted. Pets must be on a leash at all times.

    Most Refuge lands are open to hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing from September 1 through February 28. The Brande Road is closed to all public entry during the firearms deer season.

  • Hunting

    Small game, waterfowl and big game hunting opportunities are available on the Refuge. For current regulations and a map showing open areas, consult the Refuge hunting leaflet. Blinds for hunters with disabilities are available by reservation during waterfowl and firearms deer seasons.

Seasonality/Weather

The majority of the Refuge is designated a wildlife sanctuary and closed to all public access from March 1 through August 31 to allow wildlife to breed and raise their young free from human disturbance. During this time the only areas available for public use are the Wildlife Drive (after the eagles hatch in late April), the hiking trails, the St. Francis River canoe route, and fishing access points.

Park Partners

Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

The Friends of Sherburne believe that the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is a unique natural resource and that they can help the community develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the Refuge and its mission.

(763) 389-3323

Directions

Driving

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is located in east central Minnesota, approximately 50 miles northwest of Minneapolis and 30 miles southeast of St. Cloud.

From St. Cloud take Hwy. 23 east through St. Cloud to Hwy. 95. Follow Hwy. 95 east 15 miles to Mille Lacs County Rd. 7. Look for the large brown information sign for Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. Go south four miles on Mille Lacs Co. Rd. 7 (this road becomes Sherburne County Road 5). A Refuge kiosk with information and leaflets can be found at the intersection of Co. Rd. 5 and Co. Rd 3. Continue south on Co. 5 three miles further to Co. 9. Follow Co. 9 east two miles to the Old School House located on the south side of the road. Go .5 miles further on Co. Rd. 9 to reach the Refuge Headquarters, located on the north side of the road.

From Minneapolis and St. Paul, take I-94 west to the Hwy. 101 Rogers exit. Follow Hwy. 101 north to Hwy. 169 north. Follow 169 north through Elk River and Zimmerman to Co. Rd. 9, four miles north of Zimmerman. Follow Co. Rd. 9 west four miles to the entrance to the Refuge where a kiosk with Refuge information and leaflets can be found. Continue on Co. Rd. 9 west one mile to reach the Refuge Headquarters located on the north side of the road. Go .5 miles further on Co. Rd. 9 to reach the Old School House located on the south side of the road.

If coming from Big Lake take Sherburne Co. Rd. 5 north approximately 8 miles to Orrock. A Refuge kiosk with information and leaflets can be found at the intersection of Co. Rd. 5 and Co. Rd. 4. Follow Co. Rd. 5 north three miles further to the intersection of Co. Rd. 9. Follow Co. Rd. 9 east two miles to the Old School House located on the south side of the road. Go .5 miles further on Co. Rd. 9 to reach the Refuge Headquarters, located on the north side of the road.

From Zimmerman, follow Hwy. 169 north four miles to Co. Rd. 9. Follow Co. Rd. 9 west four miles to the entrance to the Refuge where a kiosk with Refuge information and leaflets can be found. Continue on Co. Rd. 9 west one mile to reach the Refuge Headquarters located on the north side of the road. Go .5 miles further on Co. Rd. 9 to reach the Old School House located on the south side of the road.

From Princeton, follow Hwy. 169 south from Princeton five miles to Co. Rd. 9. Follow Co. Rd. 9 west four miles to the entrance to the Refuge where a kiosk with Refuge information and leaflets can be found. Continue on Co. Rd. 9 west for one mile to reach the Refuge Headquarters located on the north side of the road. Go .5 miles further on Co. Rd. 9 to reach the Old School House located on the south side of the road.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(763) 389-3323

Links