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By combining several shorter trails, this 4-mile excursion affords the best bird watching opportunities.

By combining several trails, hikers are afforded sights of open wetlands and croplands. Begin this hike in the parking lot adjacent to the NWR office. Hike north on the blue-blazed Blue Heron Trail. Immediately, you'll notice managed feeding grounds which attract migratory geese, ducks and shorebirds. As Blue Heron Loop turns left, stay straight on Swan Loop and then onto Yellow Leg's Loop which eventually wraps around connecting to Mallard Loop. To the north rests Crane Creek, another lure for migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, herons, and egrets. During the warmer seasons of March through November, many loons and gulls make this creek bed home. Mallard Loop wraps around carrying you back east which takes you to the western edge of Swan Loop and Blue Heron Loop. Carry these two trails into an environment that once covered much of northwest Ohio. Before drainage efforts, much of this area was known as the Great Black Swamp. Here you'll see glimpses of swamp remnants which attract feeding spring warblers. Continue through the woodland on Blue Heron Loop. As you approach the end of the trail, another trail drops south but reconnects, thus carrying you back to the same terminus.

Directions: From Toledo, OH, The Ottawa NWR entrance is located 15 miles east of Toledo, Ohio or 16 miles west of Port Clinton, Ohio on State Route 2. Park in lot adjacent to NWR office (near entrance).

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy

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Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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