Approximately 10,000 years ago as the glaciers receded from North Dakota a ridge of rock and soil was deposited along what is now the Missouri River. As the ice melted from within this formation of rock and soil, a landscape of rolling hills and wetlands developed known as the Missouri Coteau. The Lostwood Wilderness is located in the Missouri Coteau and is dominated by northern mixed grass prairie. Over 100 species of grasses can be found in this area and numerous species of wildflowers brighten the landscape from April through August. Lostwood Wilderness is home to an abundance of breeding waterfowl as well as many species of grassland dependent songbirds including, Baird’s, La Conte’s, grasshopper, and savannah sparrows, and Sprague’s pipit.
The climate of this area is typical of the Northern Great Plains, with annual precipitation ranging from 12-17 inches. Typically the months of May and June receive the most moisture with the remaining summer months hot and dry. It is not uncommon to exceed temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months and 20-30 degrees below zero during the winter. With few natural land barriers the wind moves freely across the Plains with speeds often 5-20mph and 25-35mph. The highest point in the Wilderness is 2,470 feet.
The Lostwood Wilderness, as well as the Refuge in which it is situated, protects some of the best native prairie in North Dakota. The Lostwood Wilderness lies in the northern section of the Refuge and is open year-round to hiking, photography, bird-watching, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Lostwood Wilderness.
Lostwood NWR headquarters is located at 8315 Highway 8, Kenmare, ND 58746.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.