35704 County Hwy. 26, Rochert, Minnesota
Crisscrossed with quiet roads and gently sloping hiking trails, just shy of 43,000 acres, these woodlands and wetlands offer the solitude of unspoiled nature. More than 20 lakes dot the refuge, their shores providing nesting sites favored by loons, herons, Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, and teals. Bald eagles also nest here, and golden eagles sometimes may be seen during their fall migration. In all, more than 200 bird species have been observed within the refuge, along with deer, black bears, beavers, and moose.
Berry picking and mushrooming are allowed in the lower third of the refuge, where chokecherries, pin cherries, raspberries, and morel mushrooms are abundant. Fishermen are likely to catch northern pike, walleye, bluegills, and yellow perch, and boat-launching areas are provided. Nearly eight miles of trails are groomed for skiing in the winter.
Two of the most popular ways to enjoy the preserve are the Blackbird Auto Tour and the Old Indian Hiking Trail. The auto tour makes a 10-mile loop along refuge roads and passes many areas of geological and ecological interest. The hiking trail, about a one-mile loop, leaves Rte. 29 at the shore of Tamarac Lake and leads past an ancient Sioux burial ground to a camp area used as late as the 1930s by Native Americans gathering wild rice and sap for maple sugar. Harvesting the wild rice today is allowed only by special permit.
Open daily year-round.