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Tinkers Creek State Nature Preserve

Preserving 722 acres in Portage & Summit Counties

Tinkers Creek rises in northern Portage County and flows across a high plateau region of bays, swamps and marshes before cascading through a deep gorge and entering the lower Cuyahoga River.

Tinkers Creek State Nature Preserve lies amid thousands of acres of rich peat, swamp and marshland. The nearly 786-acre preserve teems with a great diversity of plant and animal life. Nesting waterfowl and songbirds may be seen during the spring and early summer. Canada geese and wood ducks nest throughout the marshes and can be seen from the trails around the Seven Ponds area.

Beaver ponds dot the preserve and add to the diversity of plant and animal life by providing habitat for greater numbers of species. Whitetail deer, raccoon, mink, weasel, muskrat and fox are some of the mammals frequently spotted along the trails. Among the reptiles and amphibians present are snapping turtles, water snakes, four-toed salamanders and bullfrogs.

Even though it is located near a large metropolitan region, the Tinkers Creek area has remained isolated from development and retains much of its pristine charm and, natural integrity.

Trail System

Much of Tinkers Creek State Nature Preserve is inaccessible to pedestrian traffic because of wet and swampy conditions. However, visitors can enjoy the .5 mile trail which circles through the Seven Ponds region of the preserve. This trail, traversing open field areas as well as hardwood and evergreen stands, provides a closer look at the vast marsh surrounding the much smaller upland trail area. This is an excellent spot for birding. Geese and herons usually can be spotted along this section of trail.

The South Point Trail extends southward through a dense stand of oaks, beeches and maples to the tip of the upland peninsula. From South Point visitors can see the beaver ponds and marsh to the south and west. The trees and shrubs in this area flash with the colors of wood warblers in mid-May.

Lonesome Pond Loop is a short trail around an isolated spring-fed lake. The work of beavers is readily apparent all around Lonesome Pond, from the lodge on the south bank, to the cut and stripped saplings below the banks of the pond. The trails are seasonally wet and mosquitoes and deerflies can be pests in summertime. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, appropriate seasonal clothing and insect repellent in summer.

Local Directions

Located in Portage/Summit counties southwest of Aurora. From the junction of SR 82 and 43, proceed south on SR 43 approximately 1 mile to Aurora-Hudson Rd. Follow Aurora-Hudson Rd 2 miles southwest, then 2 miles west on Old Mill Rd. The preserve is adjacent to the railroad tracks.

Special Features

Bird Watching

  • Good opportunities for viewing waterfowl, heron and beaver
  • Spring wildflowers


Observation Area

  • Parking lot
  • Bulletin board
  • 2.5 mile trail
  • Observation deck

Managing Agency

Tinkers Creek State Nature Preserve is managed by Summit Metro Parks.

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