Oak Openings--Ferns and Lakes Trail (blue)

Birds of Interest

This trail offers opportunities for seasonal views of Barred Owls, Chestnut-sided warblers, kinglets, and many other types of birds.

About this Location

The Ferns and Lakes Trail begins at Mallard Lake, then follows “Gale Run”, a headwater stream, north to Beaver Lake and beyond. Look for skunk cabbage and ferns growing in areas along this trail and watch for quick-moving mink along the edge of the ponds and streams. Areas tend to be wet and muddy during the spring season.

Parking for this trail can be found at Mallard Lake Area.

This trail tends to be very wet and muddy in the spring.

About Oak Openings Preserve Metropark

Located between Whitehouse and Swanton, Oak Openings Preserve takes its name from the surrounding region, which is 23 times larger than the park itself. That’s something to consider when you realize that Oak Openings Preserve is over 4,000 acres.

Pioneers trudging through a dense swamp called this area “Oak Openings.” Most of the park is an oak savanna ecosystem, characterized by alternating wetlands and vegetated dunes. The Nature Conservancy once named the sandy region one of the 200 “Last Great Places on Earth.”

Prickly-pear cactus, wild lupine, and sand cherry bloom atop dry, hot sand dunes just yards away from orchids growing in low, wet swales. There are more than 50 miles of trails in Oak Openings Preserve. Stands of isolated pine and spruce planted by the WPA during the Great Depression are still visible.

Oak Openings is a birder’s paradise. It is the nesting place of Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, Whippoorwills, Lark Sparrows, and many other species, as well as an excellent location to see migrating songbirds in the spring.

No entrance fee.

Content from Oak Openings Preserve Metropark webpage and Ohio Ornithological Society