Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve is a 73 acre park in Ozaukee County along the shore of Lake Michigan. It is just South of Port Washington and is also next to a 44 acre wetland owned by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for waterfowl protection.
The park has numerous trails that range from a crushed limestone type of trail paved trail to dirt and mulch covered trails. There are approximately 3 plus miles of trails and all the “official” trails are well marked with signs. My favorite is the trail that follows the bluffs along lake Michigan. I have hiked this park in all seasons including a couple degrees below zero this winter. They also have boardwalks on sections of the trails that go over wetlands.
Follow the trails to the North and you will find signs directing you to the stairs that descend down through the gorge over a stream to the shore of lake Michigan.
Today the stairs were covered with ice and snow, but the views were fantastic. There is still some clean white snow from last weekend’s storm and the very vibrant greens from the cedar trees and mosses.
At 6:30 am the trails were still frozen and crunchy but after a couple of hours they began to thaw out and were very muddy. I was glad that the main trial going through the property was paved and dry.
I came this morning to do some bird watching. I know that the migration has started and I wanted to get started looking for birds. The birds did not disappoint, they were everywhere! Unfortunately I don’t have the knowledge to identify all of them so it takes me a lot of time to look them up with my phone and a birding book, but that’s why I enjoy it. Finding new birds I haven’t seen and being outdoors is always a great time.
From forest to wetlands this park has a great variety. As I walked through the wetland area watching the Mallards, Blue Winged Teal, Green Winged Teals, and more. I reached the end of the trail I could hike without being in water. After turning around and a few steps, I spotted a fantastic looking bird, that I had never seen before. In a tree was as best I could describe into google, a bird with a head that looks like a hairdo from a 1970’s punk rock band. After some searching and better observing I discovered that it was a Belted Kingfisher. Such a beautiful morning to be out.
If you haven’t been to Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve and you are in the area definitely check this out.