Corduroy Road Mentor, Ohio 44060Official Website
Mentor Marsh is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.
Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve was Ohio’s first state nature preserve and the only remaining natural marsh along Ohio’s Lake Erie shore. It is being restored to remove invasive phragmites and return native marsh plants. The Wake Robin Trail boardwalk is an excellent place to find Virginia and Sora Rails, bitterns, Marsh and Sedge Wren, and a wide variety of sparrow species including Nelson’s and LeConte’s. Zimmerman Trail offers upland forests that attract a variety of migrant songbirds.
Mentor Marsh, designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1966, occupies an ancient abandoned channel of the Grand River. A beech-sugar maple forest occupies the higher elevations bordering the marsh. At the eastern edge of the preserve, there is a mixed oak swamp forest, a forest type destroyed in most parts of the Lake Erie region. The most extensive plant community type is an emergent wetland dominated by reed-grass or Phragmites. This is the largest Phragmites marsh in Ohio. The area provides habitats for a diversity of wildlife species. Located in Lake County, 3.5 miles west on OH-283 from Painesville, proceed .5 mile north on Corduroy Road to the Mentor Marsh House.
The best access point to the marsh is via the Wake Robin Trail, which includes a boardwalk. Recent restoration efforts have increased plant diversity along the trail, and this is the place to try for Le Conte’s and Nelson’s sparrows. A nature center, the Mentor Marsh House, is located at 5185 Corduroy Road, just east of the marsh. Consult the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for hours of operation and upcoming programs.
Interesting birding can be had year-round, but fall may be the most productive season. Lots of sparrows of many species frequent the marsh vegetation, sometimes threatened by patrolling Merlins. Warblers of many species can be found in the trees that border the marsh, along with a diversity of other songbirds. Rails and other marsh birds skulk amongst the Phragmites, including both species of bitterns.
Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve Trails
There is a 4-mile system at the Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve including a boardwalk trail and observation deck.
Kerven Trail – 1 mile
Wake Robin Trail – 0.5 miles
Zimmerman Trail – 2 miles
The best access point to the marsh is via the Wake Robin Trail, which includes a boardwalk. Recent restoration efforts have increased plant diversity along the trail, and this is the place to try for Le Conte’s and Nelson’s sparrows.
Zimmerman Trail skirts the north edge of the marsh, where hikers may come across some of the region’s biggest oak trees. In May, the slopes of the upland forest floor are laced with trillium in full white bloom, blood-colored wake robins, pale spring beauties, and velvety wild ginger.
The AllTrails website has descriptions with maps of four hikes in the Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve.
Restrooms on site