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Michigan dnr > wildlife viewing guide > southern lower peninsula > lake erie metropark

108 Lake Erie Metropark Southern Lower Peninsula

wildlife viewing  |  directions and facility information

view of lakebridgealong a sandy shore
Photo: © Phil Seng
rocky shoreline
Photo: © Phil Seng

Water is a major component of the habitat here, including lakes, river backwaters, and coastal wetlands. This site boasts nearly 3 miles of near-shore waters of the Detroit River and Lake Erie. The marshes found at Lake Erie Metropark are not river backwaters, but Great Lakes coastal marshes. Meadow areas and hawthorn thickets are also highlights. Portions of this p ark are highly developed and receive heavy visitor traffic. However, its ideal location along Lake Erie makes this site home to some tremendous wildlife viewing opportunities. There are nearly 9 acres of American lotus beds that bloom from late July through early Sept. The annual Hawkfest occurs on the third weekend in September. The park is open dawn to dusk.

Wildlife Viewing

wetlands marsh
Photo: © Phil Seng

Among wildlife watchers, this site is probably best known for its raptors, or birds-of-prey. During fall migration (September is best) it is possible to view more than 50,000 hawks here in a single day! Broad-winged hawks are the most numerous, and are often seen in kettles or groups of 3,000 or more. As many as 30,000 broad-wings may be seen on a given day. Be sure to bring your binoculars for a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Lake Erie Metropark is also very good for waterfowl viewing. Hot water from the Trenton power plant keeps a portion of the waterfront open throughout the winter, and this area is popular for ducks, geese, and swans. Bald eagles may also be seen fishing in this open water during winter.

This park is often host to a number of exotic birds that happen by due to migration error, such as glossy ibis, Eurasian wigeon, brant, white pelicans, white-tailed eagle etc., so there are often surprises here during spring and fall migration.Bald eagle sightings are now a year-round event with several pairs nesting in the near vicinity (and presently one pair on park property). Hundreds of tundra swans are a highlight of the winter observation season as these arctic visitors over-winter offshore from late October through mid-March.

Waterfowl species of all types are still a big feature of the fall migration. The raptor migration continues to be the most unique aspect of our fall migration season from September-November. This site has become one of the premier fall hawk watching sites in North America. Wetland animals including muskrat, mink, fox snake, several turtle species, and Sora rail.


From Detroit, take I-75 south to Exit 29A (Gibraltar Road). Turn left (east) onto Gibraltar and proceed less than a mile to Jefferson Road. Turn right (south) onto Jefferson and continue to the park entrance on the left.

Ownership: Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority 734-379-5020 ext. 5736

Size: 1,600 acres

Closest Towns: Rockwood, Gibraltar

Weather and Driving Directions for Rockwood

Plan Your Trip with travel.michigan.org!

More information can be found by visiting the DNR's site (link leads to web app allowing users to search for campgrounds, harbors, trails and more), or by conducting a Google search:


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