Head north from Cedarburg to Lion’s Den Gorge, a beautiful 73-acre nature preserve located on the shores of Lake Michigan in the Town of Grafton. Purchased by the Ozaukee County Parks Department in 2002, over the years, the preserve has become a popular destination for hikers and picnickers, not forgetting dog owners. Sometimes we suggest to guests at the Inn that they might like to drive there after breakfast for a brisk morning walk that will open their sinuses before they explore Cedarburg’s historic downtown.
Lion’s Den Gorge includes almost a mile of 90- to 100-foot high bluffs looking over Lake Michigan, as well as a mixture of wetland and upland areas which provide diverse habitats for all kinds of native wildflowers, shrubs and a variety of trees.
From the parking lot, you’ll hike along a short, elevated boardwalk and follow the Gentian Walk west for your first view of the bluffs and the lake. Benches are strategically placed and, on a clear day, you can even see Port Washington. The view never gets old.At the end of the Bluff Trail, pause a while and look into a deep ravine – which is why the preserve got its name – then take the wooden steps leading down to a stony beach. Skim a few stones across the smooth surface of the lake, dabble your toes in the cool water, then climb the steps again and follow the trail back to the parking lot, keeping a sharp eye out for migratory birds as the preserve lies adjacent to a US Fish & Wildlife Service Production Area.
Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve is located at 811 High Bluff Drive in Grafton. Call 262-284-7075 for more information … it’s an experience you’ll never forget.