Start your visit at the Leopold Center, an educational and interpretive facility near the Leopold Shack, located on the very land where Aldo Leopold died in 1948 fighting a brush fire. Exhibits, trails, and self-guided/guided tours interpret noted conservationist Aldo Leopold’s life and legacy.
Discover the place where A Sand County Almanac was inspired. Learn how Aldo Leopold’s ideas continue to inform and inspire us today. Explore Aldo Leopold’s living legacy and your own connections to the natural world.
What Can I See on my Visit?
Exhibits Visitors can explore interpretive exhibits throughout the Leopold Center that cover basic background on Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, the Leopold family legacy, and the green building features of the center. There is no admission fee to view exhibits. You can also view these special exhibits funded by the Sauk County UW-Extension Arts & Culture Committee:
"Birds of A Sand County Almanac" created by woodcarver Alan Bennett
The Leopold Shack and Farm
A National Historic Landmark, the Shack is a re-built chicken coop along the Wisconsin River where Aldo Leopold and his family stayed during weekend retreats. It is also the site that inspired many of the essays in A Sand County Almanac. Leopold called the Shack his “refuge from too much modernity,” and this humble and rustic place still inspires many to re-discover their connections to the natural world. Each year, thousands of visitors are inspired through reflection in the same landscape that deeply moved Leopold. Learn about tours.
The Leopold Center Green Building The Leopold Center serves as both a headquarters facility for the Aldo Leopold Foundation and a Leopold-focused visitor center and meeting facility. The building was constructed to meet the highest standards in green building, to represent Aldo Leopold's concept of a land ethic. Learn about how features like solar power, geothermal, and sustainable building materials make this one of the “greenest” buildings in the world. It has not only received the US Green Building Council’s LEED® platinum certification, the highest possible level, but it was more highly rated than any other building yet rated in the United States. It is also the first building ever to be certified “carbon neutral.” Learn about the ways to explore and learn about our building.
Trails Come out and hike, ski or snowshoe in the diverse landscape surrounding the Leopold Center! Explore oak savanna, wetlands and a high quality dry prairie remnant overlooking the Wisconsin River Valley on our 2.5 mile trail network. Trails are open year-round during visitation hours. Interpretive signs along the trail help tell the story of the surrounding landscape. The development of the interpretive trail was funded in part by grants from the Sauk County UW-Extension Arts & Culture Committee, the Natural Resources Foundation's Besadny Grant Program, and the Greater Sauk County Community Foundation. Thank you!
Help us preserve the integrity of the landscape by respecting the following policies. Thank you!
Use trails only during posted
visitation hours, and please keep to the marked paths.
Your dog is welcome to hike with you on the Leopold Center trails. Please use a leash and remove pet waste to keep the trails a pleasant experience for all hikers.
Dogs are NOT allowed at the Shack property.
Motorized vehicles are not permitted on trails.
Smoking, use of alcoholic beverages or illegal substances, and littering
Note that both ticks and poison ivy are present on the site. Use caution, stay on trails, and be sure to check yourself over after your visit to be sure you have no “hitchhikers.”
Wear blaze orange when hiking during hunting seasons.
The Aldo Leopold Foundation assumes no responsibility for any injury and/or accident to a person or persons while visiting our property.
We are closed on the following holidays:
Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Sorry, we do not currently have Sunday hours. Limited staff in the office over Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year's holidays.