Hach-Otis Sanctuary

About this Location

Hach-Otis Sanctuary is an 81-acre forested tract overlooking the beautiful Chagrin State Scenic River valley. Located in Willoughby Hills and within 20 miles of downtown Cleveland, the preserve has been protected as a bird sanctuary since 1944.

  • Scenic view of the Chagrin State Scenic River
  • Excellent spring wildflowers
  • This preserve is open 8 am to 4 pm daily
  • The 1.5-mile trail system and parking lot

The generosity of two local families preserved this beautiful bluff-top forest of native hardwoods and hemlocks. The woods were originally donated to the Cleveland Bird Club (a forerunner to the Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland) by Mr. and Mrs. Edward A. Hach and by Harold T. Clark, a philanthropist who bought 56 acres of choice forest from Harrison G. Otis. The sanctuary was dedicated as an interpretive nature preserve in 1977.

Primarily a beech-maple-oak mixed mesophytic forest with deep ravines of eastern hemlock, Hach-Otis is home to some unusual plants including trailing arbutus, pink moccasin flower, and red trillium.

There are a few young American chestnut trees along the bluffs. Many of the ancient beech trees have completely hollow trunks and provide “apartments” for a number of different species of animals.

Squirrels can be heard barking among the treetops, and pileated woodpeckers, great horned and barred owls, white-tailed deer, foxes, and raccoons are some of the other animals found within the preserve.

The steep eroding clay banks high above the Chagrin State Scenic River are ideal nesting spots for bank swallows and noisy kingfishers.

Bluffs overlook the Chagrin State Scenic River recutting an old valley that was completely filled with glacial drift during the last ice age. The ridges stand more than 150 feet above the streambed of the ever-changing river.

The unstable hillsides of glacial clays and sands perched above shale are constantly being eroded by the meandering arm of the river.

Located in Lake County 1 mile east of Willoughby Hills on US-6, 200 yards north on OH-174, then east on Skyline Drive to the dead-end and preserve parking lot.

John and Carol Lillich Meadows, a new addition to the Hach-Otis Sanctuary, is 32 acres in size, mostly meadow and old orchard with a bit of wooded hillside, and the main branch of the Chagrin River wraps around it. It will be managed as a meadow and is not currently a part of the State Nature Preserve. It is located on Dodd Road in Willoughby Hills just across a bridge from Pleasant Valley Park.

Content from Hach-Otis Sanctuary State Nature Preserve webpage