Oak Openings–Ridge Trail
eBird Bar Charts by Season
Ohio Birding Day Hike
Oak Openings Preserve Metropark Trails
About Ridge Trail
The Ridge Trail provides a 3.5-mile circuit hike in the area south of Swan Creek. It can be accessed from the Ski Trail which runs south of the Oak Openings Lodge or from a connector trail on the south side of Oak Openings Parkway near Mallard Lake. The Ridge Trail circles an area of tornado damage (“tornado alley”). This area provides the “edges” of habitat that make for good bird watching. You can shorten the walk by doing an in and out hike from either of the access points.
From Ken Ostermiller
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.