Heins Creek Nature Preserve

Play Video

The natural beauty and tranquility of these lands and waters have long been appreciated. Early archaeological work uncovered evidence of an extensive Native American village site along both sides of Heins Creek dating back 1300 years, yet the creek and this isthmus weren’t always here. Thousands of years ago, Kangaroo Lake was an embayment, or bay, open to the waters of Lake Michigan. Over time, waves and shore currents moved sand deposits creating dunes that cut off the entrance to the bay, forming what we now call Kangaroo Lake. Heins Creek is a remnant of that former landscape, moving the waters of Kangaroo Lake through this isthmus of ancient dunes to connect with Lake Michigan once more.

Forested and open dunes, hemlock and yellow birch, grasses, sedges and a rich understory of flowering plants are all key elements that make this area an essential wildlife corridor for migratory birds to rest and nest. In spring and summer trout and salmon spawn in Heins Creek. Look for the flash from their silver scales in the clear, shallow waters.

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.

  • 74 protected acres
  • .75-mile looped hiking trail
  • Heins Creek teems with fish in spring and fall
  • Upland hardwood forest and cedar swamp
  • Habitat for migratory and nesting birds, including bluebirds
  • Flying squirrels occasionally sighted here