Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail In North Dakota

Here is everything you need to know about the Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: North Dakota
  • Length: 9.92 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Permit Required?: No.
  • Website:

The Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail holds significant historical importance in North Dakota. This trail, located within the Arrowwood NWR, follows the path of the historic Ft. Totten Military Road, which was constructed in the late 1860s. The road was initially built to connect Fort Abercrombie, near present-day Fargo, with Fort Totten, located on the western shore of Devils Lake.

The construction of the Ft. Totten Military Road was a response to the increasing tensions between Native American tribes and settlers in the region. The road served as a vital supply route for the military, allowing for the transportation of troops, supplies, and mail between the two forts. It played a crucial role in maintaining communication and providing support to the military outposts during a time of conflict.

The trail’s historical significance extends beyond its military use. It also served as a transportation route for settlers, traders, and Native American tribes. The road facilitated trade and commerce, connecting various communities and enabling the movement of goods and people across the region. Today, the Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail stands as a testament to the rich history of the area, offering visitors a glimpse into the past and the important role this trail played in the development of North Dakota.

While On The Trail

Access Points

There are several major access points or trailheads along the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail. These include:

1. Arrowwood NWR Visitor Center: The visitor center serves as the main access point for the Arrowwood NWR leg of the trail. It provides information about the refuge and its trails, as well as exhibits and educational programs.

2. Arrowwood NWR Headquarters: Located near the visitor center, the headquarters also serves as an access point for the trail. It is a good starting point for exploring the refuge and accessing the trail.

3. Arrowwood NWR Campground: The campground is another access point for the trail. It offers camping facilities and is a convenient starting point for hikers or bikers looking to explore the trail.

4. Arrowwood NWR Wildlife Drive: The Wildlife Drive is a scenic route within the refuge that provides access to various points of interest, including the Historic Ft. Totten Trail. Visitors can park their vehicles at designated spots along the drive and access the trail from there.

5. Ft. Totten State Historic Site: Located near the Arrowwood NWR, the Ft. Totten State Historic Site is an access point for the trail. It offers historical exhibits, guided tours, and access to the trail for visitors interested in exploring the area’s history.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Arrowwood NWR leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail. It is advisable to check with the refuge or state historic site for any specific guidelines or restrictions before visiting.

Transportation Available

1. Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to and from Arrowwood NWR.
2. Ft. Totten State Historic Site Shuttle – Shuttle service offering transportation to Ft. Totten State Historic Site.
3. Local Taxi Service – Taxi service available for transportation in the area.
4. Ride-sharing Service – On-demand ride-sharing service for convenient transportation.
5. Bike Rental Shop – Rental shop offering bicycles for exploring the trail and surrounding areas.
6. Car Rental Agency – Car rental service providing vehicles for independent transportation.
7. Public Bus Service – Local bus service with routes connecting nearby areas.
8. Train Station – Train station offering regional transportation options.
9. Airport – Nearby airport providing air travel options.
10. Walking – The trail can be accessed by walking from nearby accommodations or attractions.


The amenities available at the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available for visitors to use along the trail or at designated areas within the refuge.

2. Parking: There should be parking areas or designated parking spaces available for visitors to park their vehicles while accessing the trail.

3. Camping Sites: Arrowwood NWR may offer camping opportunities for visitors. These camping sites may include amenities such as tent pads, fire rings, picnic tables, and access to restroom facilities.

4. Picnic Areas: There may be designated picnic areas along the trail or within the refuge where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals and gatherings. These areas may have picnic tables, grills, and trash receptacles.

5. Hiking/Biking Trails: The Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail itself is an amenity, providing opportunities for hiking and biking enthusiasts to explore the natural beauty of the refuge.

6. Wildlife Viewing Areas: The refuge may have designated areas or observation points where visitors can observe and appreciate the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area.

7. Interpretive Signs/Information: Along the trail, there may be interpretive signs or information boards providing educational content about the history, wildlife, and natural features of the area.

Please note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is recommended to check with the Arrowwood NWR or the managing authority for the most up-to-date information on the amenities provided at the Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center – Lakeside lodging and dining options with beautiful views of Lake Darling.
2. Spirit Lake Casino & Resort – Casino hotel offering accommodations, dining, and entertainment.
3. Cenex Gas Station – Convenient gas station with a convenience store and basic food options.
4. Subway – Fast-food chain serving sandwiches and salads.
5. Dakota Harvest Bakers – Local bakery offering a variety of baked goods and sandwiches.
6. Spirit Lake Health Center – Medical facility providing emergency medical services.
7. Spirit Lake Police Department – Local law enforcement agency offering emergency services.
8. Spirit Lake Fire Department – Fire station providing emergency fire and rescue services.

Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail Difficulty Notes

The Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. The trail encompasses a diverse landscape, including prairies, wetlands, and woodlands, providing a unique and scenic experience. While the trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, it does feature some uneven terrain and occasional steep inclines, requiring a moderate level of physical fitness and agility. However, the breathtaking views, abundant wildlife sightings, and historical significance of the area make the Arrowwood NWR leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail a rewarding and memorable adventure for those seeking a moderate challenge.

Features And Attractions

The Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail offers several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along this trail:

1. Arrowwood NWR Visitor Center: Start your journey at the visitor center, where you can learn about the refuge’s history, wildlife, and conservation efforts.

2. Arrowwood NWR Wetlands: The refuge is known for its diverse wetland habitats, providing a home to various bird species, including waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds. Keep an eye out for these beautiful creatures as you explore the area.

3. Arrowwood NWR Prairie: The refuge also features expansive prairie landscapes, showcasing the native grasses and wildflowers of the region. Enjoy the serene beauty of the prairie as you hike or bike along the trail.

4. Historic Ft. Totten State Historic Site: As you continue along the trail, you’ll reach the Historic Ft. Totten State Historic Site. This former military fort dates back to the late 1800s and offers a glimpse into the area’s history. Explore the restored buildings, including the barracks, officers’ quarters, and the fort’s stone walls.

5. Spirit Lake Tribe Cultural Center: Located near the Historic Ft. Totten site, the Spirit Lake Tribe Cultural Center provides insights into the culture, traditions, and history of the Spirit Lake Tribe. Discover artifacts, artwork, and exhibits that showcase the tribe’s heritage.

6. Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge: Just south of the Arrowwood NWR, you’ll find Lake Alice NWR. This refuge is known for its diverse bird population, including waterfowl, bald eagles, and pelicans. Take in the scenic views of the lake and surrounding wetlands.

7. Sheyenne River Valley Scenic Byway: The Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail is part of the Sheyenne River Valley Scenic Byway. This scenic drive offers breathtaking views of the Sheyenne River, rolling hills, and picturesque landscapes. Enjoy the beauty of North Dakota’s countryside as you travel along the byway.

These are just a few of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can experience along the Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail. Enjoy the journey and immerse yourself in the rich history and natural beauty of the area.

Usage Guidelines

– Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
– Hunting is not allowed within the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail.
– Fishing is allowed in designated areas only and requires a valid fishing license.
– Camping or overnight stays are not permitted along the trail.
– Bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail.
– Motorized vehicles, including ATVs and motorcycles, are not allowed on the trail.
– The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may be closed during specific seasons for maintenance or wildlife protection. Please check for any seasonal restrictions or closures before visiting.
– Respect wildlife and their habitats. Do not disturb or feed the animals.
– Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
– Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and dispose of it properly.
– Fires and open flames are not allowed along the trail.
– Alcohol consumption is prohibited on the trail.
– Be mindful of other trail users and yield to pedestrians and slower-moving traffic.
– Follow all posted signs and regulations while using the Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail.

Seasonal Information

The Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail is a beautiful destination that offers visitors a chance to explore the natural wonders of North Dakota. The best times of the year to visit this trail are during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, the refuge comes alive with vibrant wildflowers and the sounds of migratory birds returning to the area. The fall season offers stunning foliage colors, making it a picturesque time to hike or bike along the trail.

It is important to note that the Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail has seasonal closures. During the winter months, the trail may be closed due to snow and ice, making it unsafe for visitors. It is advisable to check with the refuge or local authorities for the current trail conditions before planning a visit during the winter season.

Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the refuge may have temporary closures or restrictions during certain times of the year to protect wildlife and their habitats. These closures are typically in place during nesting seasons or when sensitive species are present. Visitors are encouraged to respect these closures and follow any posted signs or guidelines to ensure the preservation of the refuge’s natural resources.

Overall, the best times to visit the Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the landscape is at its most vibrant. However, it is essential to stay informed about any seasonal closures or restrictions to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to this beautiful natural area.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trail: The Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail offers a wheelchair accessible trail for individuals with mobility challenges.
2. Paved Surface: The trail features a smooth and paved surface, ensuring easy navigation for wheelchair users.
3. Wide Pathways: The pathways are designed to be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, allowing for comfortable passage.
4. Accessible Restrooms: The trail provides accessible restrooms equipped with features such as grab bars and ample space for wheelchair maneuverability.
5. Accessible Parking: The trail offers designated accessible parking spaces located close to the trailhead, ensuring convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
6. Accessible Picnic Areas: The trail provides accessible picnic areas with tables and benches designed to accommodate wheelchair users.
7. Signage: The trail features clear and visible signage with universal symbols, making it easy for individuals with visual impairments to navigate.
8. Accessible Information: The trail provides accessible information boards or brochures with braille or large print options for individuals with visual impairments.
9. Assistance Animals: The trail welcomes assistance animals, allowing individuals with disabilities to have their service animals accompany them.
10. Accessible Viewing Areas: The trail offers accessible viewing areas with ramps or platforms, providing everyone with an opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Arrowwood NWR.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked path to avoid getting lost or disturbing wildlife.
2. Carry and drink plenty of water: Stay hydrated during your hike to prevent dehydration.
3. Wear appropriate footwear: Use sturdy shoes or boots to protect your feet and ankles on uneven terrain.
4. Use insect repellent: Apply bug spray to prevent bites from mosquitoes and ticks.
5. Check for ticks after your hike: Inspect your body and clothing for ticks, as they can carry diseases.
6. Be aware of wildlife: Respect the animals and maintain a safe distance to avoid any potential conflicts.
7. Avoid touching or consuming wild plants: Some plants may be poisonous or cause allergic reactions.
8. Be cautious of uneven terrain: Watch your step and be mindful of any potential hazards on the trail.
9. Inform someone of your plans: Let a friend or family member know about your hiking plans and expected return time.
10. Carry a map or GPS device: Ensure you have a way to navigate the trail and find your way back if needed.
11. Dress appropriately for the weather: Check the forecast and dress in layers to adapt to changing conditions.
12. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings: Be mindful of other hikers, bikers, or wildlife on the trail.
13. Pack a first aid kit: Carry basic medical supplies in case of minor injuries or emergencies.
14. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and respect the natural environment by not disturbing or littering.
15. Follow any additional guidelines or regulations posted at the trailhead: Be aware of any specific rules or restrictions for the Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail.

Conservation Notes

The Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail is a significant conservation area located in North Dakota, United States. This trail leg is part of the larger Ft. Totten Trail system, which stretches across several miles and encompasses diverse habitats. The conservation status of the Arrowwood NWR Leg is of utmost importance due to its unique ecological features and the protection it provides to various species.

The Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail is designated as a protected area, ensuring the preservation of its natural resources and wildlife. This conservation status aims to maintain the integrity of the ecosystem and safeguard the habitats of numerous plant and animal species. The trail leg traverses through a variety of habitats, including wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands, which are crucial for the survival and reproduction of many native species.

The conservation efforts in this area focus on maintaining and restoring the native vegetation, controlling invasive species, and managing the water resources effectively. These measures help to sustain the biodiversity of the Arrowwood NWR Leg and support the populations of various wildlife species. The trail leg provides essential habitat for migratory birds, including waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds, making it an important stopover site during their long-distance journeys.

Overall, the conservation status of the Arrowwood NWR Leg of the Historic Ft. Totten Trail ensures the protection and preservation of its unique ecological features. Through ongoing conservation efforts, this trail leg continues to provide vital habitat for a diverse range of plant and animal species, contributing to the overall health and biodiversity of the region.

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