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Seney National Wildlife Refuge



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Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Seney Wildlife Refuge

Note: Some roads are open to motorized vehicles seasonly

Hiking Seney National Wildlife Refuge Cross country skiing Seney National Wildlife Refuge Mountain biking Seney National Wildlife Refuge


From Seney, drive south on M-77 for 5 miles to the site entrance on the right (west) side of the road.

Trail Distance:

50+ miles containing many loops ranging from .8 miles and larger.


One of the premier wildlife viewing sites in the state, Seney National Wildlife Refuge has something to offer wildlife watchers of all ages and abilities. The refuge totals some 95,000 acres. Special features include 7,000 acres of managed wetlands, a 9,500-acre bog, and 25,000 acres of wilderness. There are hiking trails, a self-guided wildlife auto tour, 70 miles of backcountry biking trails, a canoe-able wild and scenic river, marked ski trails, hunting, and fishing. Seney has an excellent visitor center. It offers interpretive exhibits and slide shows, a children’s “please touch” table, and a nature-oriented gift and bookshop. The visitor center is open 9 to 5, seven days a week from May 15 to October 15. Stop in to pick up some of the many maps, brochures, and interpretive materials that will help you get the most of your visit to this wildlife viewing haven.

Seney Wildlife

Wildlife Viewing:

Seney’s list of commonly seen critters reads like a wildlife watcher’s wish list. There are excellent opportunities to view bald eagles, common loons, trumpeter swans, ospreys, sandhill cranes, white-tailed deer, and beavers. Trumpeter swans were reintroduced to the refuge in the early 1990s. Since then, they have flourished and now form one of the largest resident flocks in the Midwest. Some lucky visitors also catch glimpses of black bears, bobcats, river otters, and moose. Gray wolves are found at Seney, but sightings are rare. All told, the refuge is home to more than 200 kinds of birds, 45 mammals, and 26 fish.

The 7-mile Marshland Wildlife Drive is a must for wildlife viewers visiting the refuge. Open dawn to dusk, May 15-October 15, this one-way auto tour route is constructed on the tops of water control dikes. The route takes visitors alongside open water ponds and wetlands, sedge meadows, and through forests. These diverse habitats attract many native and migratory wildlife, many of which can be seen at close range on both sides of the auto route, and often seen in the pine stands growing along many of the dikes. The drive has three wheelchair accessible wildlife observation decks.
Iris © Ted and Jean Reuther
Britishsoldier © Jean Reuther
These festive wild irises lend splashes of
royal color to the surrounding vibrant green.
The red coats of the British soldiers also
delight the eye!
Photos: Iris © Ted and Jean Reuther;
Britishsoldier © Jean Reuther

Be sure to stop by the visitor center to get a map of the drive. A 1.4-mile hiking trail that begins at the visitor center also provides viewing opportunities along dikes and long boardwalks through rich wildlife habitats. Volunteers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff at the visitor center direct visitors to the best places to see specific kinds of wildlife.

During June, July, and August, special wildlife programs and free tours are held regularly by the Refuge naturalist and biologists.

Facilities and Opportunities:

  • Restrooms – At visitor center, daily 9-5, May 15 to Oct. 15, restrooms are available after-hours near the Refuge headquarters office.
  • Trails – One designated hiking trail, 1.4 miles long. Fifty miles of backcountry roads suitable for hiking and mountain biking. Level, sandy trails in most areas. Easy hiking.
  • Camping – None permitted on refuge. Several campgrounds in area; primitive to modern. List of campgrounds provided upon request from the refuge.
  • Visitor Center -- Open 9 to 5, seven days a week, May 15 to October 15.
    Gift shop: Nature gift shop run by Seney Natural History Association. Same hours as visitor center. (Join the Association and get 10% off all merchandise.)
  • Cross-country skiing – About ten miles of ungroomed trails ranging from easy to moderate skill levels. Ski trails offer wildlife viewing along the scenic Manistique River and through a mature hardwood forest. Equipment rentals available in Germfask.
  • Drinking water – Available at visitor center.
  • Fishing – Permitted on selected pools; pike, perch, bullheads, and sunfish. Fishing leaflet available at visitor center. All lead fishing tackle prohibited to prevent lead poisoning in loons and waterfowl; alternatives sold at visitor center gift shop.
  • Hunting – Permitted on portions of the refuge. Hunting leaflet and map identify open areas and regulations. Hunting seasons and regulations closely follow State of Michigan rules with some exceptions. For example, baiting and hunting with dogs not allowed for bear hunting.
  • Bicycling – Over 50 miles of gravel roads are open to bicycling.
  • Barrier-free – The visitor center and three observation decks on auto tour route; accessible spotting scopes and interpretive panels.

View/Download the map for Seney Wildlife Refuge

Information courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources

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