Bass Lake Preserve

About this Location

Bass Lake is a natural lake on the Chagrin River. The water level is maintained by a low dam on the Chagrin a short distance downstream of the outlet. The shallow lake lies in an ancient glacial flat and is largely surrounded by extensive wetlands. The sheltering wetlands have protected the lake from shoreline development, resulting in a multitude of exceptional ecological communities.

Today, parts of the lake remain as they must have appeared to early inhabitants of the region. About 90 percent of the shoreline is mantled in trees, shrubs, and marsh vegetation.

Bass Lake is an important stopover during the great spring and fall migrations of waterfowl and neotropical songbirds. Bald Eagles nest in the lowland woods near the lake. Beavers ply the swampy tributaries. Native brook trout still swim in small streams that flow into the lake. Wild rice grows in the marshy margins.

The lakeshore forest is characterized by red maple, silver maple, swamp white oak, pin oak, and American elm. It is home to wild turkey, Ruffed Grouse, White-tailed Deer, Masked Shrew, and Northern Long-eared Bat, species that illustrate a mature, complex ecosystem with significant diversity. Rare nesting birds in Ohio such as the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Dark-eyed Junco also habitually appear here.

The Bass Lake community was established on the west side of the lake in the early 20th century, consisting primarily of summer cottages. In the 1950s residents began to build new and convert older cottages into year-round residences. In addition to recreation, the land was also used for farming and maple syrup production, and celery was grown in a nearby peat bog.

Located in the heart of Geauga County, this beautiful park is the 160-acre Bass Lake, a treasured natural resource for many generations, and Spring Brook Sanctuary, a State Nature Preserve protecting Ohio’s last known indigenous population of brook trout. Boating and fishing are permitted, and there are many peaceful resting areas suitable for bird watching and discovering nature, including a beautiful lodge. The Land Conservancy was instrumental in the purchase and permanent protection of this treasured preserve.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

  • Roadside viewing

Content from Bass Lake Preserve webpage and Western Reserve Land Conservancy Parks and Preserves webpage