Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve
eBird Bar Charts by Season
Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve Trails
The 88-acre Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, commonly known as Dike 14, has three trails:
Perimeter Loop Trail, 1.75 miles
Monarch Trail, .25 mile
Northern Harrier Trail, .5 mile
The shorter trails bisect the park allowing for hikes of varying distances.
The nature preserve is adjacent to Gordon Park and accessed from the northern terminus of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.
A description with a map of a hike at the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve is on the AllTrails website.
Tips for birding Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve
The 88-acre Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve is one of the top hotspots for Lake Erie birding in December. Once a sunken barge, then a site for dumping river-bottom dredge sludge, the urban wildlife haven grew up as a land where none existed before.
Parking and restrooms are available. Walking is flat but not wheelchair accessible. Great views of downtown Cleveland from the west side overlook.
From Diana Steele, Ohio Ornithological Society Northeast Regional Director
Follow the wood chip trail from the parking lot to a high turnstile-type gate at the fence. This, in turn, provides access to a 1.75 mile Perimeter Loop Trail that travels west along the fence, heads north to overlook the lake and then loops back upon itself, passing through most of the habitat types in the preserve. The turnstile prevents access by bicycles and other wheeled vehicles; rules prohibit pets on the trail. Signs here and there credit the Port Authority and Cuyahoga County with the establishment of the preserve.
From Dick Hoffman
The Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.
Birds of Interest
Expect to find abundant waterfowl species and gulls out on the lake, always with a chance of a rarity. In the diverse mix of habitats inland, winter visitors like finches, siskins, juncos, red-breasted nuthatches, and white-throated sparrows flit among the young trees. In the dense pines, Northern Saw-whet Owls are fairly regular winter visitors. Warblers visit the preserve to rest and refuel during the spring and fall migrations.
About Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve
The wild, green oasis in downtown Cleveland is 4.7 miles east of the mouth of the Cuyahoga River – a river to which the preserve traces its existence. Dike 14 was created in 1976 and used until 1999 to hold the spoils from dredging Cleveland’s harbor and the river.
The mud and silt have metamorphosed into a haven for plants, animals, and birds. Plants have colonized the preserve creating fields, wet meadows, shrub communities, and stands of maturing trees. Wildlife including deer, fox, raccoons, and coyotes, along with dozens of species of butterflies, reptiles, amphibians, and a host of other organisms call the preserve home.
The preserve is an important staging area for migrating birds with more than 290 different species recorded. In 2004, it was recognized as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. The same year, a grant from the Ohio Coastal Management Program funded, in part, a feasibility study for safe public access to the preserve.
From Lake Erie Public Access Guide
Restrooms in at parking lot and in Cleveland Metroparks office building.