Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve

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 to dirt and mulch covered trails. I think 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, about 100 feet above the shoreline. I have hiked this park in all seasons including a couple degrees below zero this winter. Boardwalks provide dry travel 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 still covered some 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.

 

When I started hiking this morning about 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.

 

The birds were very active and plentiful, my favorite was the Belted Kingfisher. It took me quite a while to identify this one. It is hard to describe the head of the bird when it looks like a hairdo from a 1970’s punk rock band.

 

 

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