Headlands Road Mentor, Ohio 44060Official Website
The Mentor Headlands area includes Headlands Beach State Park, Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve, Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park, and Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve.
The area has an impressive list of 334 species with single days during the spring migration of more than 130 bird species tallied. Days of 100 or more are common in May and possibly even in April. It is the most heavily covered area in the county and can attract 50 or more local birders on a May weekend. The habitat is diverse including lakeshore, sand dunes, bottomland forest, marsh, upland forest, pine plantings, river, harbor, and open fields, all in an area that is just a 6.6-mile stretch of Lake Erie Shoreline. All of these areas are easy to access and have ample parking.
Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve and the adjacent Headlands Beach State Park is an excellent starting point for spring and fall migrants plus waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls, and terns which can be found walking along the beach and jetty which leads out to the lighthouse.
The northern shoreline of Ohio displays the dynamic effects Lake Erie has on our changing landscape. The lake has been a dominant force, shaping Ohio’s natural and cultural development for thousands of years. Erie, meaning wildcat (“it is long-tailed”), is derived from the tribal name of the Indian culture who inhabited this area until 1655.
Lake Erie was originally much larger than it is today. As an eastern outlet opened via the Niagara River, the lake drained down to its present size. Sand beaches from the former lake are still found along the northern shore. The swamplands adjacent to the beaches were once part of the lake itself. Plants more common to the Atlantic coastal plain region can be found growing in the surrounding sand dunes. Sea rocket, beach pea, seaside spurge, beach grass, and purple sand grass persist on the dunes.
Headlands Beach and Dunes Trails
Two trails run through the state park with additional trails found in the adjacent nature preserve.
Buckeye Trail – 1.5 Miles – easy, handicap accessible, pet friendly (trail only)
Fishing Trail – 0.4 Miles – moderate
Headland Dunes State Nature Preserve Trail – several trails throughout the dune area
This nature preserve has sensitive and rare flora and fauna, so please stay on marked trails.
The AllTrails website has a description and map of a hike at Headlands Beach and Headland Dunes State Nature Preserve.
Restrooms on site
Content from Haans Petruschke and Headlands Beach State Park website