We'll go to the Headquarters (which will be closed, but there is an information kiosk) to look at maps.
We'll hike Taskers Coulee Hiking Trail (2 miles) and have lunch at a picnic area near that trail. http://www.fws.gov/refuges/trails/refuge.cfm?orgcode=62570.
We'll also hike the Canada Goose Nature Trail (6 miles). Here's some info. about the Canada Goose Trail from a few years ago http://www.kenmarend.com/kenmare-news/features/canada-goose-trail-opens-friday-on-des-lacs-nwr-for-wildlife-observation-opportunities/.
We'll drive at least part of the 19-mile Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge Scenic Backway, listed as one of the top 10 drives on US National Wildlife Refuges http://www.gorp.com/parks-guide/travel-ta-scenic-drives-bombay-hook-national-wildlife-refuge-bosque-del-apache-national-wildlife-refuge-lower-klamath-national-wildlife-refuge-tule-lake-national-wildlife-refuge-sidwcmdev_148259.html?page=2.
And, optionally, visit Pointe of View Winery on our way home. They have wine, cheese, Pride of Dakota products, a short hiking trail through a wooded area, and a gorgeous view of the Souris River Valley.
Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge map http://atfiles.org/files/pdf/DesLacMap.pdf
Those that want to carpool from Bismarck: meet at the north end of the K-Mart parking lot and leave at 7:30 AM.
Proceed to a rural church parking lot east of Wilton http://goo.gl/maps/e6sUX. Meet me and my husband there at 8:00 am (we live northeast of Bismarck and this is a convenient spot for us). We can carpool/caravan from that point taking a few miles of gravel, then Highway 41 (if some carpool with us, you could leave your car in the parking lot).
If you are joining the hike from somewhere else, we should arrive at the Headquarters by about 10:45 am. We can exchange phone numbers and I'll let you know when we leave the church and Velva. My phone number is[masked]-0973.
We'll take Highway 41 to Velva, getting off the well-worn Highway 83 route to Minot. We'll stop at gas station in Velva in case people have had too much coffee that morning ;) or forgot water or a snack.
Then take Highway 52 to Minot, and on to Kenmare, then the Refuge Headquarters (not open on weekends, but has information kiosk open)
Drive to Tasker's Coulee picnic area and have sack lunch
Hike Tasker's Coulee (2 miles)
Drive to Canada Goose Trail
Hike Canada Goose Trail (6 miles, some could do all, some could do part and go back to start to move vehicles; this is 6 miles one end to the other, with one-way traffic, so we either need to do part, turn around and get vehicles, or have a few people do a shorter version and go back to start to move vehicles to the end).
Some could return home at this point others could do the optional extension.
Optional: Go to Pointe of View Winery near Minot (between refuge and Minot; winery closes at 6 pm).
Hike their trail (1/4 mile, through trees, with a beautiful view of the Souris River Valley)
Return home via Highway 83.