North Dakota Map

Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge Backway

19 miles (30 km)


The Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge Backway, found in the north-west corner of North Dakota, provides excellent opportunities to view the rolling hills and wooded draws of the Des Lacs Valley. The most striking experience this backway offers is the excellent wildlife viewing opportunities found at the refuge. Over 250 species of birds have been seen there and include waterfowl, raptors,and many other migratory birds. Deer, moose, and other wildlife are also seen along this route.

Points of Interest

Points of Interest Along The Way

Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center (ND)

The visitor center at Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters features displays of local history and native wildlife. For example, photographs of E.S. Gross and mounts of wildlife commonly found in the area can be found in the visitor center.


To get to the visitor center, head north on US Highway 52. In Kenmare, turn left (west) on County Road 2. At the intersection of County Road 2 and County Road 1, the visitor center is on the south side.

Historic Danish Mill (ND)

The Danish Mill was built in 1902 on a homestead eleven miles north of Kenmare. Area farmers ground grains into flour here. In 1959, the mill was moved into the city of Kenmare and its restoration was completed in 1961. In 1965 the mill was moved to the Park on the Square and given a face lift in 1996. The Park on the Square has beautiful trees, flowers, and benches on which to enjoy a summer's day. The Danish Mill is located in the center of the park, which the city of Kenmare was built around.


To get to Historic Danish Mill from Des Lacs Byway, head north US Highway 52 to the city of Kenmare, six miles north of the byway. Historic Danish Mill is located in The Park on the Square, in the middle of the city.

Lake County Museum (ND)

The Lake County Historical Society Museum preserves the history of the area in a five-acre, eighteen-building village. Of special interest is a pioneer church, a one room schoolhouse, a home built in 1904, and many early day businesses -- each furnished to recreate their original settings. Young and old alike enjoy touring the village; for some it offers a glimpse of their ancestors' lives, for others, a chance to reminisce about the days of their youth.

Munch's Coulee Hiking Trail (ND)

From Munch's Coulee Hiking Trail you have excellent bird watching opportunities. The trail climbs up the side of the draw to the upland prarie. The upland portion is one of the best places on the refuge to view native wildflowers as well as upland birds. The upland portion of the trail, as it returns to the parking area, allows hikers a spectacular view of Lower Des Lacs Lake and marsh as well as the route of Des Lacs Scenic Backway. The bottom portion of the trail is hard surfaced and is universally accessible. Four benches provide resting areas along the entire trail.

Taskers Coulee Picnic Area (ND)

Taskers Coulee lies in a heavily wooded coulee south of the Des Lacs refuge headquarters and can be reached via Des Lacs Scenic Backway. This lighted area offers a covered shelter, picnic tables, grills, drinking water, and restrooms. There are activities for all ages, including playground equipment, a sand volleyball court, a baseball diamond, and numerous hiking trails.


19 miles (30 km)
Main Roads:
US-52 W

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