“A trail with stunning views of the Des Lacs River (the river of lakes).
— Karen Ryberg
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This trail has spectacular views of the Des Lacs River and is located on the Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge so there are many birdwatching opportunities along the trail. Migratory birds include ducks, geese, swans, grebes, and shorebirds.
Need to Know
Most people would do this as a shuttle leaving a vehicle at one end and starting at the other end.
The trail starts at the gate just outside the west city limits of Kenmare on the Northern side of Ward County Road 2, where there is a small parking area and trailhead sign. The trail exits the Refuge on the east side of the Upper Des Lacs Lake on the west side of U.S. Highway 52.
The trail offers visitors the opportunity to observe many different migratory bird species such as ducks, geese, swans, grebes, and shorebirds as they congregate during fall migration.
The trail is on an old roadbed on which grass has been allowed to grow and is open to hiking, bicycling, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Flora & Fauna
Migratory birds, pheasants, wildflowers, and white-tailed deer.
History & Background
The Des Lacs Valley was formed by meltwater flowing out of a glacial lake thousands of years ago. Bison and fur-bearing animals lured French trappers to this valley. It was so flat that the river spread out in a chain of marshes and lakes, and they called the area "Riviere des Lacs," French for River of the Lakes.
Drought during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s caused water availability to decline dramatically. In response, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge in 1935, one of many national wildlife refuges set aside during the 1930s and 1940s to help migratory birds and local wildlife.