The sand dunes along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario are an integral part of a coastal barrier environment that consists of beaches, sand dunes, embayments and wetlands.

This barrier system, which extends for roughly 17 miles, contains the largest and most extensive freshwater sand dune formations in New York State.

Discover more about this fascinating costal environment, including it's flora and fauna, the trails and boat routes available, and how you can help protect this area.

El Dorado Beach Preserve

A 360-acre area managed by the Central and Western New York Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. The preserve is open from early May until early fall. El Dorado is directly adjacent to Black Pond WMA and is accessible off Grand Jean Road in Henderson.

For more informaation regarding this area, please visit The Nature Conservancy website.

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El Dorado Nature Preserve Trail

Map marker: 14, Blue
Trail length: 1.3 miles (entire loop)
Difficulty: Easy
Type of use: Hiking
Trail description: This trail travels though extensive areas of red cedar forest and wet, mixed woods which form a buffer zone for the shorebirds, water birds and waterfowl visiting the shoreline of the preserve. The forest also provides habitat for many passerines. After following the trail for about one half mile, a trail to the right will take you to a bird watching blind. From there you can view shorebirds feeding on the insects and crustaceans they find in the algae mats.
Continue south on the path to the high dune overlook. From this overlook you can view the dunes of Black Pond Wildlife Management Area, the tallest dunes in the northeastern U.S. outside of Cape Cod. At this point you can either continue across the outlet and follow the beach to Black Pond WMA or follow the trail behind you back to the El Dorado parking area. If you decide to cross the Black Pond outlet, a string fenced trail may be present. If so, please stay within the string fencing to reach Black Pond WMA. A word of warning: Currents in the outlet can be dangerous!
How to get there: Turn west off of Route 3 onto County Rout 152 and drive 1.5 miles. Turn left at Grandjean Road. Where the pavement ends, take the left fork at the "El Dorado Nature Preserve" sign.