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U.S. Forest Service

Northern Region Viewing Area


hoary puccoon. Hoary puccoon. Photo source: Thomas G. Barnes, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

spiderwort. Spiderwort. Photo source: Clarence A. Rechenthin, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

prairie smoke. Prairie smoke. Photo source: Gary A. Monroe, U.S. Forest Service.

Sheyenne National Grassland

Forest: Dakota Prairie National Grasslands

District: Sheyenne Ranger District

Description: The soil of the grasslands is a thick mantle of sand deposited by advancing glacial ice. The northern end of the National Grassland is oak savanna – a rolling prairie dotted with groves of bur oak. Along the Sheyenne River are hardwood forests of basswood, American elm, and green ash. The main portion of the grassland is prairie. The Grassland provides a home to wildflowers like prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), western wallflower (Erysimum asperum), spiderwort (Tradescantia), penstemon, and hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens). The wildflowers attract many butterflies, among them the regal fritillary and the Dakota skipper. The grassland is North Dakota’s only stronghold for the greater prairie chicken.

Viewing Information: Wildflowers can be viewed from spring through early fall. April is the best month to view the greater prairie chicken as male birds display on booming grounds. Turkeys and white-tailed deer can be seen in early morning and late evening May through October. Migratory songbirds such as warblers, vireos, meadowlarks, bluebirds, and orioles abound in the spring. A twenty-five mile portion of the North Country National Scenic Trail crosses the area.

Safety First:

  • While touring the Nationa Grasslands, be sure to remain alert for other vehicle traffic, livestock, wildlife, and railroad crossings. This is especially important on curves, hilltops, and when stopping along the route. Watch for cattleguards, and reduce speed when crossing.
  • No off-road driving is allowed.
  • Avoid smoking or other open fires during periods of high fire danger.
  • Poison ivy can be found in shaded, woody areas. Wear long pants and adequate footwear.
  • Be prepared for inclement weather. Many of the roads become difficult to travel during periods of heavy rain or snow. Basic passenger vehicles and large recreational vehicles may have difficulty during these periods.
  • There are few rest room facilities available, so be sure to take the appropriate measures necessary for a comfortable trip.
  • It is advised that you obtain a National Grassland map from any U.S. Forest Service office.
  • Be sure to follow the map closely and monitor your location. These precautions will help to ensure that you do not tresspass onto private land.
  • Please don't litter!

Directions: There are two trailheads for the North Country Trail. One is located three miles south of North Dakota 27 on Ransom County Road 54. The other trailhead is located 6.5 miles north of North Dakota 27 on Richland County Road 23. The trail is marked by blue diamonds and is designated for non-motorized used only.

For information about the prairie chicken observation blind, for maps, and for other information, stop at the U.S. Forest Service office at 1601 Main Street in Lisbon, North Dakota.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Dakota Prairie Grasslands: Sheyenne Ranger District, (701) 683-4342.

Closest Town: Lisbon, North Dakota.