Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Louisville Swamp Unit








U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service




The Louisville Swamp Unit is one of eight units that make up the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
















Rapids Lake, Chaska and Louisville Swamp Units Trail Map


Printable Map(s) with GPS coordinates




2,600 acres




N44 44.386, W93 35.880




Sunrise to Sunset for approved activities, including federal holidays




No fee

No National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota charges a fee


Driving Directions

  Area and County  

Get driving directions from Google Maps to this destination from any address, and send those directions to your phone.

          Scott County  
          Metro Area  

Hiking Trails


12.9 miles

The Minnesota Valley State Trail, a 35 mile multi-use trail, passes through the site.




North of Middle Road: Archery Only: Deer & Upland Game

South of Middle Road: Archery & Firearms: Deer, Upland Game, Migratory Birds

See Hunting - Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge for details.


Ecological Classification

  Ecological Classification  
  Ecological Province    

Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province

  Ecological Section    

Minnesota & NE Iowa Morainal

  Ecological Subsection    

Big Woods

  Land Type Association    

Le Sueur Alluvial Plain


Native Plant Communities*


Bulrush Marsh (Northern)

Dry Sand - Gravel Oak Savanna (Southern)

Dry Sand - Gravel Prairie (Southern)

Pin Oak - Bur Oak Woodland

Red Oak - Sugar Maple - Basswood - (Bitternut Hickory) Forest

Silver Maple - (Virginia Creeper) Floodplain Forest

  * Source: The Minnesota Biological Survey, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Ecological Resources      

Natural Features








Visitor Photos

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos


    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit  

Dry Sand - Gravel Oak Savanna (Southern)

    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit      

Pin Oak - Bur Oak Woodland

    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit      


    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit  
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit      

Elaine J. Buzzard Monument

    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit      

Jab’s Farm

    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit      


    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit   Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit  
    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit      



  Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge -- Louisville Swamp Unit
Michael David Myers
  Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge -- Louisville Swamp Unit  

Louisville Swamp Unit

FWS staff estimate that Louisville Swamp floods three out of every five years, and trail closures are common. A water control structure helps regulate the outflow into Sand Creek, a short course which flows into the Minnesota River. The unit also includes dry lands above the bluffs which bear old fields, prairie, and oak savanna. The unit is located on the right bank of the river just north of Jordan, Minnesota.

There was once a Wahpeton Sioux village called Inyan Ceyaka Otonwe, or Little Rapids, here. The unit’s Mazomani Trail is named after a Wahpeton chief. Jean-Baptiste Faribault built a fur trading post near the village in 1802 and lived here for seven years. The exact site of the village and trading post are lost, but the remains of two historic farmsteads are still visible. The Ehmiller Farmstead is in ruins, but at the Jabs Farm two buildings have been restored and a third stabilized. The barn was built in 1880 by Robert and Anna Riedel. Frederick Jabs bought the 379 acre (1.5 km²) farmstead in 1905 and his family lived there as subsistence farmers until 1952.

  Louisville Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
  Louisville Swamp National Wildlife Refuge  

This is a wild area along the Minnesota River that's part of a larger complex of protected areas. These photos are from visits beginning on Decmber 13 and 31, 2011, continuing now through warmer times . Click here for details.

  Louisville Swamp Scenery

Uploaded on Jun 7, 2009

Some pics from the trails at Louisville Swamp. Jabs Farm, the Glacial Boulder, and other stuff.

  Louisville Swamp Scenery II

Uploaded on Jan 21, 2012

Pictures from our wanderings at Louisville Swamp, part of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Sleeper reverie and the Louisville Swamp

Published on Apr 18, 2012

A short set of videos from the Louisville Swamp Unit along the Minnesota River, set to Greg Brown's song, Sleeper.

  Dinner On Ice - Skiing the Louisville Swamp 2/26/11

Published on Feb 28, 2011

Terrific skiing near Carver Rapids, by the Louisville Swamp, in the Minnesota River Valley. Enjoy a dinner table with a view, and a hot meal cooked, once again, on an alcohol stove. An epilogue at the end of the video shows my stove, for those gear-nuts who love these things.

  Sendingtime Visits The Louisville Swamp Boulder
Matt Swanson

Uploaded on Oct 16, 2011

The weather was far to beautiful to waste the afternoon watching football. But being unable to secure a partner to go sport climbing with, I decided to grab my shoes and a crash pad and enjoyed an excellent day of solitary bouldering.




Visitor Sightings

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  northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens)   northern leopard frog  



Sixteen bird species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen here:


Henslow’s Sparrow (Centronyx henslowii)

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)


Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)

Special Concern

American Goshawk (Accipiter atricapillus)

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea)

Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri)

Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)

Hooded Warbler (Setophaga citrina)

Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammospiza nelsoni)

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Purple Martin (Progne subis)

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Birds List

eBird Field Checklist – Louisville Swamp

eBird Field Checklist – Middle Road Trailhead

eBird Field Checklist – Valley View Road Trailhead


American Coot (Fulica americana)

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Redhead (Aythya americana)

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)


American Goldfinch

Black-capped Chickadee

Canada Goose

Dark-eyed Junco

Wild Turkey




Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Fishes List


Fungi and Lichens


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Fungi List

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Lichen List

  Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea)   Giant Puffball  

Insects and Arachnids


eastern comma (Polygonia comma)

goldenrod soldier beetle (Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus)

green-striped darner (Aeshna verticalis)

monarch (Danaus plexippus)

orange sulphur (Colias eurytheme)

  eastern comma  



eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

  eastern gray squirrel  



Four plant species with conservation status in Minnesota are found here:


Wolf’s spikerush (Eleocharis wolfii)


disk water-hyssop (Bacopa rotundifolia)

kittentails (Veronica bullii)

rough-seeded fameflower (Phemeranthus rugospermus)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas and Minnesota Biological Survey Vegetation Releves Plant List


Plants frequently found in:

Bulrush Marsh (Northern) MRn93a

Dry Sand - Gravel Oak Savanna (Southern) UPs14ab

Dry Sand - Gravel Prairie (Southern) UPs13b

Pin Oak - Bur Oak Woodland FDs37b

Red Oak - Sugar Maple - Basswood - (Bitternut Hickory) Forest MHs38c

Silver Maple - (Virginia Creeper) Floodplain Forest FFs68a



alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum)

American basswood (Tilia americana var. americana)

American bugleweed (Lycopus americanus)

American stinging nettle (Urtica gracilis ssp. gracilis)

arumleaf arrowhead (Sagittaria cuneata)

asparagus (asparagus officinalis)

biennial beeblossom (Oenothera gaura)

big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi)

bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa)

butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa ssp. interior)

Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)

Canada lettuce (Lactuca canadensis)

Canada moonseed (Menispermum canadense)

Canada wildrye (Elymus canadensis)

Canadian horseweed (Erigeron canadensis)

Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense)

Canadian woodnettle (Laportea canadensis)

candle anemone (Anemone cylindrica)

common burdock (Arctium minus)

common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale)

common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)

common false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum racemosum var. racemosum)

common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

common mullein (Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus)

common obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana ssp. virginiana)

common plantain (Plantago major)

common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)

common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum var. perfoliatum)

cut-leaved coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata var. laciniata)

giant chickweed (Myosoton aquaticum)

gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa)

gray goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis)

gray-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)

green foxtail (Setaria viridis)

ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea)

harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)

hoary alyssum (Berteroa incana)

hoary vervain (Verbena stricta)

Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)

Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans)

leadplant (Amorpha canescens)

nodding bur marigold (Bidens cernua)

northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis)

northern red oak (Quercus rubra)

Pennsylvania smartweed (Persicaria pensylvanica)

perennial sow thistle (Sonchus arvensis)

plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides ssp. molinifera)

prairie cordgrass (Sporobolus michauxianus)

prairie ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata ssp. fasciculata)

quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota ssp. carota)

red clover (Trifolium pratense)

reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)

rough barnyard grass (Echinochloa muricata var. muricata)

rough cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium)

round-headed bush clover (Lespedeza capitata)

silver maple (Acer saccharinum)

smooth Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum)

smooth sumac (Rhus glabra)

spotted lady’s thumb (Persicaria maculosa)

staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)

starry false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum stellatum)

stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida)

stiff-leaved showy goldenrod (Solidago rigidiuscula)

sugar maple (Acer saccharum ssp. saccharum)

swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata)

tall bellflower (Campanulastrum americanum)

timothy (Phleum pratense ssp. pratense)

velvet-leaf (Abutilon theophrasti)

virgin’s bower (Clematis virginiana)

water smartweed (Persicaria amphibia)

western poison ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii)

white campion (Silene latifolia ssp. alba)

white clover (Trifolium repens ssp. repens)

white heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides)

white sage (Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana)

white snakeroot (Ageratina altissima var. altissima)

white sweet clover (Melilotus albus)

wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)

wild grape (Vitis riparia)

yellow goat’s beard (Tragopogon dubius)

yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis)

zigzag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)


Abutilon theophrasti (velvet-leaf)

Acer saccharinum (silver maple)

Acer saccharum ssp. saccharum (sugar maple)

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Ageratina altissima var. altissima (white snakeroot)

Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)

Amorpha canescens (leadplant)

Andropogon gerardi (big bluestem)

Anemone cylindrica (candle anemone)

Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)

Arctium minus (common burdock)

Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana (white sage)

Asarum canadense (Canadian wild ginger)

Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)

Asclepias tuberosa ssp. interior (butterfly weed)

Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)

Berteroa incana (hoary alyssum)

Bidens cernua (nodding bur marigold)

Campanula rotundifolia (harebell)

Campanulastrum americanum (tall bellflower)

Clematis virginiana (virgin’s bower)

Cornus racemosa (gray dogwood)

Daucus carota ssp. carota (Queen Anne’s lace)

Echinochloa muricata var. muricata (rough barnyard grass)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Erigeron canadensis (Canadian horseweed)

Glechoma hederacea (ground ivy)

Helenium autumnale (common sneezeweed)

Lactuca canadensis (Canada lettuce)

Laportea canadensis (Canadian woodnettle)

Lespedeza capitata (round-headed bush clover)

Lycopus americanus (American bugleweed)

Maianthemum racemosum var. racemosum (common false Solomon’s seal)

Maianthemum stellatum (starry false Solomon’s seal)

Melilotus albus (white sweet clover)

Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweet clover)

Menispermum canadense (Canada moonseed)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Myosoton aquaticum (giant chickweed)

Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)

Oenothera gaura (biennial beeblossom)

Persicaria amphibia (water smartweed)

Persicaria maculosa (spotted lady’s thumb)

Persicaria pensylvanica (Pennsylvania smartweed)

Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)

Phleum pratense ssp. pratense (timothy)

Physostegia virginiana var. virginiana (common obedient plant)

Plantago major (common plantain)

Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum (smooth Solomon’s seal)

Populus deltoides ssp. molinifera (plains cottonwood)

Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)

Quercus ellipsoidalis (northern pin oak)

Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa (bur oak)

Quercus rubra (northern red oak)

Ratibida pinnata (gray-headed coneflower)

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)

Rudbeckia laciniata var. laciniata (cut-leaved coneflower)

Sagittaria cuneata (arumleaf arrowhead)

Setaria viridis (green foxtail)

Silene latifolia ssp. alba (white campion)

Silphium perfoliatum var. perfoliatum (cup plant)

Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod)

Solidago flexicaulis (zigzag goldenrod)

Solidago nemoralis (gray goldenrod)

Solidago rigida (stiff goldenrod)

Solidago rigidiuscula (stiff-leaved showy goldenrod)

Sonchus arvensis (perennial sow thistle)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Sporobolus michauxianus (prairie cordgrass)

Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides (white heath aster)

Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale (common dandelion)

Tilia americana var. americana (American basswood)

Toxicodendron rydbergii (western poison ivy)

Tragopogon dubius (yellow goat’s beard)

Trifolium hybridum (alsike clover)

Trifolium pratense (red clover)

Trifolium repens ssp. repens (white clover)

Urtica gracilis ssp. gracilis (American stinging nettle)

Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus (common mullein)

Verbena stricta (hoary vervain)

Vernonia fasciculata ssp. fasciculata (prairie ironweed)

Vitis riparia (wild grape)

Xanthium strumarium (rough cocklebur)


alsike clover

biennial beeblossom

big bluestem

butterfly weed

common evening primrose

common false Solomon’s seal

common milkweed

common mullein

common sneezeweed

perennial sow thistle

gray-headed coneflower


nodding bur marigold

Queen Anne’s lace

rough cocklebur

round-headed bush clover

starry false Solomon’s seal

swamp milkweed

virgin’s bower

western poison ivy

white snakeroot

zigzag goldenrod








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