Burton Wetlands

Burton Wetlands

Old Rider Road Burton, Ohio 44021

Official Website
Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve map

Tips for Birding

Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve is open year-round daily from 6 am to 9 pm and admission is always free. There are two parking areas, the main gravel lot directly off Old Rider Road and a second area located halfway down the Glacier Trail near Lake Kelso, accessed by a driveway just south of the main entrance. There is a portable restroom along the Glacier Trail near the second parking area. The Glacial Trail is gravel and accessible while the Kettle Trail and Loop are grass. There are no picnic facilities. Due to the vulnerability of the park’s aquatic habitats, public boating and fishing are not permitted on Lake Kelso. Visitors should be wary of the lush growth of poison sumac along Lake Kelso.

Birds of Interest

The lake and adjacent wetlands attract a variety of migratory waterfowl including Tundra and Trumpeter Swans. The best times to visit the preserve are when these species are migrating March-April and October-November. Sandhill Cranes and Bald Eagles have been reported here throughout the year. Notable visitors include Northern Shrike, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Vesper Sparrow, Long-eared Owl, Evening Grosbeak, and Upland Sandpiper, all reported at the preserve within the last five years. A Mississippi Kite was reported here in 2008 and a pair of Long-tailed Ducks were observed on Lake Kelso in 2005.

About this Location

Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve in Burton Township is a 287-acre parcel that includes the Charles Dambach Preserve. Located within the upper Cuyahoga River watershed, Burton Wetlands was officially dedicated in 1999 as an Ohio State Nature Preserve.

Burton Wetlands grew through a series of acquisitions in the 1980s. The property surrounding Lake Kelso, purchased from Eric Westgren, once housed a private fishing club from the 1950s to the 1970s. The Dambach Preserve, named for renowned conservationist and onetime Burton resident Charles A. Dambach, was previously owned by The Nature Conservancy.

Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve is a system of forest, glacial relict ponds, and wetlands located in Geauga County. The preserve is made up of several sub-units including 22-acre Lake Kelso and the Charles Dambach Preserve. A designated National Natural Landmark, Burton Wetlands is widely considered to be one of the most ecologically significant areas in Geauga County.

This 287-acre parcel is part of a larger 700-acre complex of kettle holes, lower slope seeps, and wet flats referred to by The Nature Conservancy as the Cuyahoga Wetlands.

Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve supports several rare and endangered plants including green woodland orchid, bunchberry, and tamarack trees. Visitors should be wary of the lush growth of poison sumac along Lake Kelso.

Some of the rare animal species found here include northern waterthrush, veery, and four-toed salamander. The lake and adjacent wetlands attract a variety of migratory waterfowl. Other species of interest observed on a seasonal basis include bald eagle, osprey, tundra swan, and common loon.

Notable Trails

Burton Wetlands Trails
Trails at Burton Wetlands include:
Kettle Trail – 1.12 miles
Kettle Trail Loop – .18 mile
Glacier Trail – .22 mile


  • Restrooms on site

Content from Official Website