Oak Openings–Ferns and Lakes Trail
eBird Bar Charts by Season
Ohio Birding Day Hike
Oak Openings Preserve Metropark Trails
About Oak Openings–Ferns and Lakes Trail
The Ferns and Lakes Trail, a 2.9 mile loop with blue trail markers, begins at Mallard Lake, then follows Gale Run north to Beaver Lake and beyond. It offers opportunities for wildlife watching and passes through large patches of ferns, a stand of wild black cherry trees, spicebush, and many other plants which thrive in rich, moist soil.
This trail tends to be very wet and muddy in the spring.
Tips for birding Oak Openings
Oak Openings Preserve Metropark is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.
About Oak Openings
Located between Whitehouse and Swanton, Oak Openings Preserve takes its name from the surrounding region, which is 23 times larger than the park itself. That’s something to consider when you realize that Oak Openings Preserve is over 4,000 acres.
Pioneers trudging through a dense swamp called this area “Oak Openings.” Most of the park is an oak savanna ecosystem, characterized by alternating wetlands and vegetated dunes. The Nature Conservancy once named the sandy region one of the 200 “Last Great Places on Earth.”
Prickly-pear cactus, wild lupine and sand cherry bloom atop dry, hot sand dunes just yards away from orchids growing in low, wet swales. There are more than 50 miles of trails in Oak Openings Preserve. Stands of isolated pine and spruce planted by the WPA during the Great Depression are still visible.
Oak Openings is a birder’s paradise. It is the nesting place of Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, Whippoorwills, Lark Sparrows, and many other species, as well as an excellent location to see migrating songbirds in the spring.
From Oak Openings Preserve Metropark webpage
Restrooms and handicap accessible facilities at locations identified on Oak Openings Preserve Metropark map.
At Mallard Lake there are handicap accessible paved paths to all facilities and around the lake.