North Dakota

Lostwood Refuge - Prairie Hiking Trail

This 7.5-mile prairie trail is located within the Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern North Dakota.

photo: Cattle grazing. Photo by Ed Meendering.

Length: 7.50 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Backcountry
Agency: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Dogs - On leash
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Wildlife Observation

See more details.


Location: Lostwood Refuge, Kenmare ND, At Lostwood NWR 22 miles north of Stanley on State Route 8.

State(s): North Dakota
Counties: Burke
Longitude: -102.4321
Latitude: 48.63327

Driving Directions

The Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge headquarters is located 21 miles north of Stanley, North Dakota, along State Highway 8. A large entrance sign can be seen just off the highway on the west side of the road.

The headquarters has a kiosk where you can start your visit by picking up brochures and wildlife checklists. Accessible restrooms are available year-round inside the entryway of the Refuge office.


The trail is open to hiking annually May-September. It provides a scenic view of the Missouri Coteau, a distinctive landscape of rolling hills and wetlands shaped by glaciers. The loop trail follows a gravel access road that runs along the south border of a 5,577-acre Wilderness Area, then turns and follows a two-track prairie trail to the south and east through the Coteau landscape. The trail ties into the Refuge self-guided auto tour route and follows the route north to the beginning of the hiking trail.

The vegetation native to this area is a combination of short-grass and mixed grass prairie. The Refuge is managed primarily through cattle grazing (to mimic Bison herds), controlled burning (to mimic wildfires) and rest. Some areas of the Refuge that were farmed in the past are actively being restored to native grasses and forbs.

The Prairie Hiking trail offers excellent birding opportunities. The birding checklist for the Refuge contains over 215 species that have been sited on the refuge. With numerous scattered wetlands along the trail, a wide variety of shorebird species may be seen including American avocets, willets, and marbled godwits. The Refuge provides essential habitat for prairie-dependent bird species such as Sprague's pipits and Baird's sparrows.

Lostwood NWR has one of the highest known populations of sharp-tailed grouse in the United States. One of Lostwood's 40 leks (sharp-tail dancing/breeding grounds) is located along the Prairie Hiking Trail. The best time for viewing grouse on the lek is in early May one half hour before to 1 hour after sunrise.

In addition to the numerous bird species found on the Refuge the prairie is home to many mammal species. Among those most commonly seen by visitors are the coyote, white-tailed deer, and Richardon's ground squirrel. Few places in the United States have the combination of native grasslands and wetlands that produce such a diversity of wildlife and plant species as the Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge and much of that diversity can be seen from the Prairie Hiking Trail.

Additional Details

Width: 16 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil
Secondary Surface: None
Average Grade: 5%
Maximum Grade: 16%
Elevation Low Point: 2,275
Elevation High Point: 2,375
Elevation Gain (cumulative): 717 feet

Year Designated:

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Website: USFWS Trail Information

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
Dave Gillund
Project Leader
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge
8315 Hwy 8
Kenmare, ND 58746
(701) 848-2722
[email protected]



Cattle grazing. Photo by Ed Meendering.

Cattle grazing. Photo by Ed Meendering.

Lostwood NWR Entrance Sign. Photo by Ed Meendering.

Lostwood NWR Entrance Sign. Photo by Ed Meendering.


Endless Prairie. Photo by Wendy Schmeichel.

Endless Prairie. Photo by Wendy Schmeichel.


Trail was very nice. Could use additional signing overall but especially along the North road. Sign was broken to show where to turn. When you get back in there a ways, if it wasn't for the fence line you wouldn't know that you were close to civilization. It was very peaceful and quiet

July 30, 2020



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