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Agassiz Wilderness

General Location Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Trip Planning
Photograph taken in  the Agassiz Wilderness


The United States Congress designated the Agassiz Wilderness (map) in 1976 and it now has a total of 4,000 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Minnesota and is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.


The Agassiz Wilderness lies within the 61,500-acre Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is an important breeding and resting area for migratory birds with habitat management focusing on waterfowl, marsh, and grassland bird species. Two-thirds of the Refuge consists of wetland habitat. The Refuge lies in the aspen parkland transitional zone between the coniferous forests to the north and east and the prairie pothole region to the west and south. This rich diversity of habitats supports 300 bird species, 49 mammals, 12 amphibians, and 9 reptiles. Bird watching in spring is spectacular when ducks are in full breeding plumage, bald eagles are on their nests, and secretive marsh birds are singing from the cattails. Year round wildlife lovers can hope to catch a glimpse of gray wolves, moose, black bear, or bobcat. Hunters arrive in November to pursue white-tailed deer and grouse. Temperatures range from -47° to 108°F. "Flat" best describes Agassiz, where the terrain elevation rarely varies more than a foot per mile. The Wilderness sinks as low as 1,140 feet above sea level, then "soars" to 1,149 feet. Black spruce and tamarack tower over the soft, spongy forest floor where clusters of pitcher plants and lady slippers bloom. There are two natural boggy bodies of water-- Kuriko and Whiskey Lakes. The Whiskey Lake Trail is about two miles; waterproof boots are suggested. Camping is not allowed. If you want to pitch a tent, head for one of the two primitive state-managed campgrounds adjacent to Agassiz NWR.

Planning to Visit the Agassiz Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

Access to the Agassiz Wilderness Area is limited and challenging. A key must be obtained from the Headquarters Office to drive behind locked gates to the Wilderness Area. Office Hours are 7:30a to 4:00p. Day Use Only. No fires. The hike is usually wet - call ahead for conditions. During periods of flooding access is restricted.

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