Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge17076 293rd Ave NW
Zimmerman, MN 55398
From Elk River, MN take Highway 169 North and take the exit for Sherburne County Road 9. Go west on Co. Rd. 9 four miles to the entrance to the refuge where an information kiosk can be found.Get Directions
Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1965 and is managed to promote the health and well-being of migratory birds and their habitat.
The refuge is celebrated both for its wildlife and the extraordinary opportunities provided to visitors. The upland habitats are dynamic, ranging from grasslands to oak savanna to forest. These are interspersed with a variety of wetland and river habitats ranging from sedge meadow to deep water marsh. The refuge is designated as a state Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. Today, visitors may still discover the excitement that might have been felt over 100 years ago, as early pioneers stepped out of the “Big Woods” and onto the edge of Minnesota’s magnificent tallgrass prairie.
In October, thousands of sandhill cranes converge on the refuge marshes and a visit at dawn or dusk will provide the rare treat of large flocks of birds flying in or out of the refuge.
The majority of the refuge is designated a wildlife sanctuary and closed to all public access from March 1 to August 31 to allow wildlife to breed and raise their young free from human disturbance. During this time the areas available for public use are the seasonal Prairie's Edge Wildlife Drive, the Mahnomen, Blue Hill, and Oak Savanna Learning Center hiking trails, the St. Francis River canoe route, and fishing access points. Recreational opportunities include wildlife viewing, photography, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, canoeing, fishing, and hunting.
Hours & Dates
- Monday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
- Tuesday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
- Wednesday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
- Thursday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
- Friday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Refuge Headquarters: Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, Oak Savanna Learning Center: Open for education and appointments only.
Trails are open sunrise-sunset daily & the Wildlife Drive is open sunrise-sunset seasonally (mid-April-late- Oct)
- Eco-friendly landscape/facility design
- Energy efficiency/conservation
- Waste reduction/reuse/recycling
- Accessible to disabled
- Can accommodate groups of 45 or more
Managers control the level of the ponds to improve the wildlife refuge's suitability for waterfowl. Sandhill cranes are easy to spot from your car.
— timothyjV1569AD, July 8, 2021
The birds love it - they should! It's designed for them! We saw 6 sandhill cranes, an eagle, trumpeter swans, egrets, herons, canada geese and a hawk. Lots of butterflies, dragonflies and...
— Skuppy, September 5, 2020
There is a Prairie Wildlife Drive that is awesome. You will want to drive slowly because the creatures that live there are not always easy to see if you are driving fast. Roll your window down and...
— Robyn O, June 14, 2019
We saw a small story in Midwest Living magazine that at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, they give Sandhill Crane Tours, in Oct. We can't go then, so on 9-1-18 we drove up there. We drove the...
— Anonymous763, September 3, 2018
The first thing you need to know about this place is - HORSE FLIES of terror. Like, literally swarming around your head. Don't go hiking there in the warmer months if 20+ flies swarming your head...
— mnisotabythia, September 18, 2017