The Welcome Center building is closed March 15th through the beginning of December.
Trails and outhouse are open year round!
The Welcome Center trails are a great place to explore in all seasons. Each season has a different set of activities to offer. During the winter two dozen bird feeders are maintained, with a half dozen deer rib cages placed around to attract woodpeckers, chickadees, Canada Jays, crows, ravens, and in some years, magpies and Ermine (Short-tailed Weasel)!
During the summer our bird feeders are not maintained, however, we do have a Butterfly Garden maintained next to the parking lot that attracts many pollinators. There are also several hummingbird feeders in the garden.
The Welcome Center trails, including Broadwing Hawk Trail and Ruby throated Hummingbird Trail are accessed just outside the Welcome Center. The longer Gray Jay Way trail is accessed by the parking lot.
Winter species— Semi-regular visitors include Gray Jays, Pine Grosbeaks, Common and Hoary Redpolls, Black-capped Chickadees, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Ravens, Blue Jays. Less regular species include Ruffed Grouse, Pileated Woodpecker. Rare species recorded here include Great Gray Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Black-billed Magpie, Ermine, Gray Fox, Bobcat, Red Fox, Snowshoe Hare. There are a number of interesting lichen species found around the Welcome Center during the winter, as well as ample opportunities to track critters along the trails.
Spring/Summer/Fall species—During the last half of May, this is a good spot to start your birding day… warblers can be found along the trails, as well as nesting species like Ovenbird and Mourning Warbler. However, much of the diversity comes in the form of non-birds! The Welcome Center area is rich in spider and moth diversity, as well as unique plants like Naked Miterwort, Rugulose Grapefern, and common species like Bunchberry and Leatherleaf. The bog just to the north of the Welcome Center is home to Lincoln’s Sparrow, Palm Warbler, Hermit Thrush, and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, as well as pitcher plants and sundew!
Broad-winged Hawk Trail: 0.25 miles
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Trail: 0.35 miles
Gray Jay Way: 0.97 miles (0.5 miles used frequently)
The two trails at the Welcome Center start in different locations. Gray Jay Way begins east of the Outhouse and the Main Trails being west of the building, either accessed from the parking lot or from the Welcome Center proper. The newly under construction John C. Gale Boardwalk will connect Gray Jay Way and the main Welcome Center Trails!
Address- 8793 Owl Avenue, Toivola, MN 55765
From Cotton, MN/Hwy 53: Head west on CR52/Arkola for 11 miles. Turn left (south) from Arkola Road to Owl Avenue. Continue south 1.75 miles past the second curve to the Welcome Center, which will be on your right.
Directions from south end of the Bog: From Hwy 53 head west on Cty 133 toward Meadowlands. Continue on Cty 133 across Hwy 7. You will cross the Whiteface River and west of the crossing you will find Cty 229/29. Take a right and continue north to a T in the road at Correction Line Road. Take a left here and continue around the corner, where the road changes names to Owl Avenue. Continue north for about 2.5 miles to the Welcome Center.