White Horse Hill National Game Preserve
White Horse Hill National Game Preserve has an auto tour and nature trail.
The 4-mile auto tour is open annually from the second Saturday in May through the second week in October. The refuge is open year-round from 8:00 AM to sunset daily. . More than 3 miles of designated hiking trails begin at the visitor center and wind through woodland, prairie, and wetland habitats. A trail map is posted at each intersection of the trail with “you are here” indicators and distance markers to guide visitors. Numerous species of birds and mammals may be seen along the trail including white-tailed deer, wood ducks, and warblers. White Horse Hill is located 12 miles south of Devils Lake, ND.
One of the nation's more than 560 National Wildlife Refuges, the preserve was originally set aside in 1904 by President Theodore Roosevelt, as a national park. In 1914 White Horse Hill was further designated as a big game preserve to help save two of North America’s most majestic species: bison and elk. Lacking in size compared to other national parks, the property was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be managed as a game preserve and migratory bird refuge in 1931.
Once numbering in the tens of millions, only a few hundred wild plains bison remained in the United States by 1889. By 1900, elk were gone from much of their native range, including North Dakota. Protective laws, the establishment of refuges, and propagation of private herds helped save these two iconic species. Now more than 20,000 bison exist in conservation-focused herds and an additional 420,000 exist in private and commercial herds. Bison are no longer threatened with extinction. For the Elk, habitat protection and regulated hunting have helped elk numbers recover among wild populations.
Currently, White Horse Hill National Game Preserve is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a refuge and breeding ground for birds and other wildlife as well as a big game preserve. White Horse Hill has also been developed into a conservation learning center.
Wildlife that can be seen at White Horse Hill includes: bison, elk, white-tailed deer, prairie dogs, waterfowl, foxes, raccoons, skunks, weasels, mink, gray and fox squirrels, muskrats, rabbits, woodchucks, bald eagles, and many species of songbirds.
White Horse Hill has:
- A visitor center with various habitat and wildlife displays
- Classrooms to accommodate conservation and wildlife programs
- Outdoor amphitheater featuring environmental, cultural and historical programs
- Hiking and nature trail with interpretive stops
- Self-guided auto tour route to see wildlife
- Snowshoe trails in winter months
- Many bird watching and photography opportunities
- Overlooks-viewing Devils Lake and varied habitats at White Horse Hill National Wildlife Refuge
Located south of Devils Lake on Highway 57