National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. At Seney National Wildlife Refuge you can take a break from your long drive with a relaxing walk on one of our many trails. Visitors can participate in several activities while visiting the refuge.
Plan Your Visit
Directions to Seney National Wildlife Refuge
From Highway M-28, turn south on M-77 in Seney and continue 5-miles to the Refuge Entrance Road. Turn right (west) – the Marshland Wildlife Drive and Fishing Loop (Open May 15 to October 20) are approximately one mile ahead on the right. The office and visitor center are on River Road south of Germfask, MI. Continue 2 miles south of Germfask and turn right (west) on River Road, continue 2 miles. Turn right (north) into the parking lot.
From US-2, turn north on M-77 in Blaney Park. To go to the office/visitor center head north 8 miles then turn left (west) onto River Road. Continue 2 miles then turn right (north) and enter the parking lot. For the Marshland Wildlife Drive and Fishing Loop (open May 15 to Oct. 20) from US-2 head north 12 miles or from River Road head north 4 miles to the Refuge Entrance Road (2 miles north of Germfask). Turn left (west) – drive starts in about 1 mile. Please see vehicle restrictions below for information about the drive.
Directions to the Whitefish Point Unit of Seney National Wildlife Refuge
From Highway M-28 turn north on highway 123 at Newberry or Eckerman. At the town of Paradise take North Whitefish Point Road to the parking lot at the end of the road. The property is marked by a kiosk and boardwalk on the north east side.
There is no charge to visit the refuge.
Marshland Wildlife Drive and Fishing Loop Vehicle Restrictions
The Marshland Wildlife Drive (7 miles) and Fishing Loop (8.5 miles) are one-way, narrow, winding roads. These roads are not appropriate for all vehicles. Size restrictions are:
- Vehicles over 28 feet are not allowed on the drive.
- If your wheelbase is over 234 inches you will not be able to make the turns.
- Turning radius needs to be 45 degrees.
- Vehicle width cannot exceed 9 feet.
- We trim trees to ensure that there is an 11 foot clearance along the drive, if your vehicle is taller you should not take the drive.
Parking Lots Available for Trailer Drops or Biking Parking
The parking lot at the old visitor center (at the start of the Marshland Wildlife Drive) will not be available during the construction of the new visitor center/office. People who normally park here to bike or use this location to drop off trailers before taking the drive will need to use an alternate parking lot. You may park or drop your trailer at one of our other parking lots. Please do not block the gates.
- Robinson Street (Take Robinson Street in Germfask across from Big Cedar Campground for 1 mile to the parking lot by the refuge gate.)
- Driggs River Road (Seven miles west of the town of Seney on M-28, Driggs River Road is on the south side of the road at the west end of the passing lane. Take Driggs River Road 2 miles south to the parking area.)
- Temporary Visitor Center off of River Road (You may park here during Visitor Center hours, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday)
Restrooms are available:
- Inside the temporary visitor center from May 15 to Oct. 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily closed federal holidays.
- Pit toilets are available at the Show Pool Shelters from May 15 to Oct. 20.
- At the Whitefish Point Unit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society maintain restrooms for the complex in their gift shop building. Visitors to the point are welcome to use these restrooms.
Points Of Interest
Let our staff and volunteers at the visitor center help you plan your visit! This is a great place to start. We are happy to orient you to the refuge and the wildlife that lives here. The visitor center has an array of exhibits and hands on activities for families. A small number of souvenirs are available for a donation while the new visitor center is being built. The Marshland Nature Store is closed while the new building is being built.
What To Do
If you have 15-minutes.
- Stop by the visitor center.
- Enjoy a look around the Show Pool Shelters build by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s.
- Take the quarter mile walk out to the observation deck on the Pine Ridge Nature Trail for a great view of pools and look for recent beaver activity.
- Enjoy the observation decks around the visitor center and look for the osprey nest across the pool.
- Go birding around the visitor center, some great little birds can be found in the trees, American bitterns, ducks, geese, swans and terns are frequently seen in the pools near the parking lots.
If you have one or two hours.
- Take a hike on one of our nature trails.
- Go for a bike ride.
- Take a drive on the Marshland Wildlife Drive or Fishing Loop.
- Go skiing on one of the groomed ski trails.
- Enjoy the beach at Whitefish Point.
If you have half a day or more.
- Paddle the Manistique River.
- Enjoy a backcountry bike ride or hike.
- Hike into the photo blind off Driggs River Road.
- Go hunting or fishing.
Know Before You Go
Seney can be a buggy place. In the spring it is especially important to wear long sleeves and bug spray.
Remember to bring:
- Bug spray/head net/long sleeves and pants
- Water bottle
- Comfortable shoes for walking/hiking
- Dress in layers (mornings can be cool, but things may warm up as the day goes on).
- In spring or fall be prepared for a wide swing in temperatures.
- Dress warmly in winter.
- Morning and evening are the best times to visit to see wildlife.
- There is a wildlife sighting board at the visitor center.
- Remember to check for ticks when you leave.
- Before you visit you can check iNaturalist and eBird for recent sightings to see what other guests have seen.
- All observation decks along the wildlife drive have spotting scopes.
- Check out binoculars, guides and fishing equipment for your visit at the visitor center, they just need to be returned by the close of business.
- Sunday to Wednesday are the least busy days to visit the refuge. Thursday and Saturday are our busiest days.
- May is the best time to see spring migratory birds.
- June – Aug. to see wildlife with young.
- Sept. and Oct. are the best months for fall migratory birds.
- July – Oct. are the least buggy months.
- The first two weeks of Oct. are usually the best weeks for fall color.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge offers visitors a chance to get outside and explore the northwoods and waters. Stop in the visitor center, take a walk on one of our trails, bike the backroads, bring your camera, grab a fishing pole and see if you can catch a pike or perch or try hunting.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge has over 12 miles of trails located off the main campus, at the Show Pool Shelters and off of Robinson Road. The Whitefish Point Unit has an elevated boardwalk which takes visitors through cobblestone deposits and stunted jack pines out to the tip of the point. All trails are open year round to nature enthusiasts, photographers, hikers and runners. In the winter the trails off of Robinson Road, the Northern Hardwoods Trail System is groomed for Nordic skiing. Snowshoers are welcome but we ask they not step in the ski tracks. We ask you leave your four legged friends home when the ski trails are groomed, the holes their paws make in the snow reduce skiing enjoyment.
Maps of the Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
Other Facilities in the Complex
Seney National Wildlife Refuge is a complex of refuges. The refuge’s staff manages the other refuges throughout northern Michigan including Harbor Island and Huron National Wildlife Refuges. It shares management of the Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge with Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. It also manages the Kirtland’s Warbler Wildlife Management Area.
Rules and Policies
Please keep the following rules and regulations in mind while visiting the refuge.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge is constructing a new Visitor Center and Headquarters office. While the new building is being constructed we will be welcoming people to our temporary office/visitor center off of River Road south of Germfask.
From Germfask head south on Highway M-77 about 2 miles and turn right (west) on River Road (436) quarters. The visitor center is 2 miles down on the north side of the road.
From Blaney Park head north on M-77 to River Road (436) 7 miles. Turn left (west) on River Road. The visitor center is 2 miles down on the north side of the road.