39650 Sand Lake Drive
Columbia, SD 57433
Congress established Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in 1935 as a refuge and breeding grounds for migratory birds and other wildlife. The Refuge is 21,498 acres of prime wildlife habitat consisting of open lakes and wetlands, grasslands, woodlands, and croplands.Sand Lake NWR is home to more than 266 bird species, 40 mammal species, and a variety of fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Each spring and fall, millions of migratory birds rest and feed at Sand Lake NWR during their long migrations to and from breeding grounds. More than 123 different bird species nest and raise their young on the Refuge. Famed for its spectacular concentrations of wildlife, Sand Lake NWR has been listed as one of the top 15 birding sites in the country. It is also a designated a Wetland of International Importance and a Globally Important Bird Area. Sand Lake NWR is for people too. Each year more than 75,000 visitors come to the Refuge to appreciate its wildlife and reconnect with nature. Wildlife observation, education, photography, hunting, and fishing are all popular activities on the Refuge.
Map + Directions
Sand Lake NWR is located in the northeast corner of South Dakota, 27 miles northeast of Aberdeen, South Dakota. To get to Sand Lake from Aberdeen, take State Highway 12 east 6 miles to Brown County Highway 16 at Bath Corner. Turn north onto Brown County 16 and follow brown directional signs. The Refuge Headquarters and visitor center is located on Brown County Highway 16 approximately 9 miles north of Columbia, South Dakota.