Escape to the tranquility of nature at its best and explore the beauty of an unspoiled beach and miles of hiking and water trails. You’ll be rewarded with countless wildlife encounters and bird sightings.
Located on the shores of Lake Erie, the property that encompasses a total of 450-acres, was purchased by the City of Mentor in 1997 and 1998 in order to save it from a proposed private development. It includes not only the nature preserve, but the adjacent Mentor Lagoons Marina, that accommodates up to 500 boats along its crescent-shaped, open waterways.
Mentor’s 230-acre nature preserve includes 1-1/2 miles of shoreline with rare dune plants, a riverine marsh and mature oak bluff. Located on the western boundary of the 691-acre Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve, the property contains the greatest diversity of wetland communities within the marsh basin, and serves as an important breeding and nursery area for fish and waterfowl and an extremely popular resting place for neo-tropical birds and butterflies as they migrate each year.
The lagoons wetlands are some of the few riverine marshes still surviving along Lake Erie’s shore, and the uplands support the largest unbroken bluff forest in Northeast Ohio. Below the forest is a 1/2 mile stretch of one of the finest coastal dune communities in Ohio. Together, the dunes and beach support two species of plants listed on Ohio’s threatened list and five potentially threatened species of plants, as well as a highly diverse wildlife community. Over 150 species of birds have been recorded, making this site one of the top birding locations in the region and an Important Bird Area (IBA).
Site of Prehistoric Discoveries
Visit the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to learn about the fascinating excavations conducted by museum archaeologists. The research provided a rare glimpse into the lives of some of the prehistoric occupants of northeast Ohio, dating first to 1600-1000 B.C. and later from A.D. 1000-1600.
Over three miles of hiking trails encircle the Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve providing four distinctly different vistas: a view of the Mentor Lagoons Marina, Mentor Marsh, upland forest and Lake Erie shoreline.
The following nature trails are open to the public from dawn to dusk: Lakefront Trail (1.1 miles), Marina Overlook Trail (0.6 mile), Marsh Rim Trail (0.6 mile), Woods Trail (0.6 mile) and the Shoreline Loop (0.3 mile). Trails vary in terrain. Signs are posted throughout the nature preserve to direct visitors through the trail system. Trail maps are available at the Marina office, trailhead, or at the Recreation Department located at the Mentor Municipal Center, 8500 Civic Center Boulevard. Electric carts are available so that physically challenged persons can access the trails. Visitors can also rent a kayak to paddle throughout the protected water of the lagoons. Call (440) 205-3625 before visiting to make your reservation. A Courtesy Patrol operates during the summer months to assist and guide visitors.
We strive to maintain the highest standards possible. If you notice, or experience, a service or safety issue, please call the Parks Department at (440) 974-5720. Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve is a wildlife preserve. Please help keep it clean to protect and preserve its native plants and animals.
- Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve closes at dusk.
- Please place litter in receptacles provided.
- Parking is permitted in designated areas only.
- No alcohol is permitted in the nature preserve.
- Swimming is prohibited.
- Dogs must be on a leash at all times.
- Please respect the rights of other visitors as you enjoy our facilities.
- If an emergency arises, call 911.
- Please keep amplified music at a reasonable level.
- Bicycles are NOT permitted along the Marsh Rim Trail. Refer to Trail Map for approved bike trails.
- All-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, and all other motorized vehicles are not permitted in the nature preserve.