Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
-10.00 ft (-3.05 m)
Trail type
4.80 mi (7.72 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.

This hike is a 4.8-mile lollipop loop on the hard packed sand roads of the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area: Carlos Avery Unit. The Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area is approximately 24,000 acres. The majority of the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area is wetlands with about a third being upland habitat. The area is managed primarily for deer, waterfowl and turkeys and has 20 pools for waterfowl. This hike takes you past two of these waterfowl pools. This wildlife area is popular for bird watching so you may want to bring a pair of binoculars.

The trailhead for this hike is located 6 miles west of Interstate 35 just off West Broadway Avenue on South Road near Forest Lake, Minnesota. There is parking for about 8 vehicles at the trailhead. Vehicles are not allowed on the roads used on this hike from March 1 to August 31.  Dogs are allowed on the roads and must be leashed from April 16 until July 14. Biking on the roads is also allowed.

Start this hike by heading south on South Road through a hardwood forest that includes many birch trees. There is one small pocket of conifers nearly a mile into the hike. At the 1.4-mile mark there is a fork in the road, take a right here onto Pool 15 Road. Here the landscape opens up with large areas of wetlands to the east. After 0.6 of a mile take a left on a grass covered road for another 0.6 of a mile. This takes you past Pool 15 where you may see waterfowl. At the next intersection, take a left on South Road. It is 0.8 miles back to the fork of South Road and Pool 15 Road which completes the loop. This portion of the hike is more wooded and goes past Pool 13. From here, retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)


Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Birding. Relatively low crowds.


Vehicles allowed on the road at certain times of the year.

Trailhead Elevation

909.00 ft (277.06 m)

Highest point

909.00 ft (277.06 m)


Near lake or river

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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