Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
91.00 ft (27.74 m)
Trail type
4.70 mi (7.56 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Blue Hill Trail is a nearly 5-mile-long loop located in the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, near Zimmerman, Minnesota. This trail features wetland, prairie, oak savanna, and coniferous habitats as well as Blue Hill which is the highest point in Sherburne County. The parking for this trail is located 6.4 miles west of U.S. Highway 169 on the north side of 289th Avenue NW. The parking lot is paved and can accommodate at least a dozen vehicles. There is a vault toilet and an informational display board near the trail head. The Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is open from one half hour before sunrise until one half hour after sunset. There are no fees to visit the refuge. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be on a leash.

The Blue Hill Trail is a wide mowed path that is generally flat and is easy to follow. The trail has three loops that lets visitors pick their walking distance. Taking the loop in a counter clockwise direction takes hikers through oak savanna and prairie habitats. Prescribed burns are being used to restore the oak savanna. The trail runs near Buck Lake where there is an observation deck with two spotting scopes that provides the opportunity to view waterfowl on Buck Lake. The trail enters a coniferous forest before heading toward Blue Hill. The trail to the top of Blue Hill is quite narrow and steep. Blue Hill rises about 90 feet above the surrounding area and is made of sand, rocks, and gravel left by glaciers about 12,000 years ago. There is an observation platform on Blue Hill but when the trees are leafed out there really is not much of a view. From Blue Hill it is a short jaunt back to the trailhead.

For visitors to the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, the Blue Hill Trail provides a pleasant hike that can vary in length through a variety of habitats.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)


Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Oak Savanna and prairie habitats.


Bugs can be annoying.

Trailhead Elevation

1,000.00 ft (304.80 m)

Highest point

1,091.00 ft (332.54 m)


Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Family friendly
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota
Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota
Rum River Central Regional Park, Minnesota


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