The Souris River enters from Canada and flows 80 miles southeastward in North Dakota before it loops northward and exits the state. Bordered by two national wildlife refuges, the waterway is a haven for North Dakota wildlife species. These refuges contribute to the state’s significant population of breeding waterfowl. They also serve as critical resting areas for the thousands of birds that annually migrate through the Central Flyway. The refuges also provide homes for terrestrial wildlife such as white-tailed deer and unique birds such as the baird’s sparrow.
The association of wildlife and undisturbed settings within the Souris corridor make the river stretch a popular place for sightseeing, nature observation, and fishing. Canoeing is also a preferred pastime, as both the Upper Souris and J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuges encompass interpreted canoe trails varying in length from three to 13 miles.
Both the Upper Souris and J.Clark Salyer refuges provide canoe trails that are perfect for day trips. Both provide good access with easy to moderate canoeing. Because these trails are within national wildlife refuges, canoeists should contact the refuge headquarters for the most recent flow information and regulations. The best time to canoe these trails is usually spring or early summer in the early morning hours for wildlife viewing.
U.S. Geological Survey: http://nd.water.usgs.gov/canoeing/index.html.