Fish, feathers, forests and shoreline—the Detroit Harbor Nature Preserve is a story of land and water and the plants and animals that use them. The preserve encompasses lands on both Washington and Detroit Islands. By protecting the shorelines of these islands, the Land Trust is also protecting the waters that flow between them, waters that are home to one of the most productive spawning grounds for smallmouth bass in northern Lake Michigan. The Detroit Harbor Nature Preserve is also an important stopover site for migrating birds and provides breeding habitat for numerous rare bird species including Caspian terns, redhead ducks, American white pelicans, bald eagles, and red-breasted merganser ducks.

A marked trail on the Washington Island portion of the preserve was once a rustic logging trail and leads into the heart of an old-growth forest where some of Door County’s largest yellow birch can be found. The area is dominated by old-growth hemlock, yellow birch, sugar maple and northern white cedar. The understory contains Canada yew, a declining species threatened by deer browse, and a beautiful “garden” of ostrich and sensitive ferns.

Help us continue to protect Door County’s special places.  Door County Land Trust nature preserves were established to protect fragile ecological resources and provide habitat for plants and wildlife.  You can help maintain the health of the forest, meadows, and wetlands by respecting the nature preserves in the following ways:

Stay on the trails.  Hiking off-trail disturbs vegetation and wildlife, and increases your chances of encountering poison-ivy, other natural hazards, or trespassing outside of preserve boundaries.

Clean your boots or shoes.  You can reduce the spread of invasive plants by brushing your boots or shoes where a boot brush station is provided.

Pets are welcome.  Please keep your pets on a leash at all times and pick up after your pets.

Collecting is not allowed.  Collecting of any vegetation, wildlife, or other material is not allowed.

Leave no trace.  Please carry out everything that you carry in, including garbage.

Some activities are not allowed.  Horseback riding, ATVs, bicycles, snowmobiles and other motorized recreational equipment is not allowed on the preserves.

Camping in parking lots or on Land Trust protected properties is not allowed. Use of the nature preserves is allowed from dawn until dusk.

Fires are not allowed on Land Trust protected properties.

Wear brightly colored clothing during hunting seasons.  Hunting, trapping, and fishing may be allowed at some Door County Land Trust nature preserves.  For more detailed information about hunting on Door County Land Trust preserves, please visit our Hunting Program page.

  • 148 protected acres
  • .5-mile looped trail over rolling terrain connects to the Town of Washington’s Heritage Nature Trail
  • Northern hardwood forest that includes sugar maple, American beech, red oak, white cedar, hemlock, white pine, basswood and ash
  • Spring wildflowers that include trillium, bellwort, downy yellow and long-spur violets, Solomon’s seal, baneberry, wild sarsaparilla and Canada mayflower