• Standing water on all trails. The view of buttercups from the North Bridge is beautiful.


Crossroads at Big Creek is a 200-acre nature preserve located within the city limits of Sturgeon Bay and comprising three separate parcels: Big Creek Preserve, the Cove Preserve, and the Ida Bay Preserve.

The Cove Preserve
817 South 20th Place
Sturgeon Bay, WI

The Cove Estuary Preserve is where Big Creek flows into the waters of Green Bay, where the two bodies of water meet. Once slated for homesites, the Cove Preserve’s undeveloped shoreline provides critical habitat for a variety of migrating and nesting waterfowl, shorebirds and songbirds. It’s a great place to observe wildlife and to launch a kayak. Our boat launch is entry-assist with a nearby drive-up unloading/loading area. A trail system leads along the shore to the bay and to a small ephemeral pond.

In 2020, Crossroads began an ambitious ecological restoration of the Cove, planting hundreds of trees and shrubs of more than 20 species to create a bird sanctuary, a bioswale meadow, a successional mixed forest and other habitat areas.

The Cove is home to a state-registered archaeological site dating to the Late Woodland Era. Please note that for the protection of shorebirds and ground-nesting birds, dogs are not allowed at the Cove Estuary Preserve. Thank you for helping protect our wildlife.

Crossroads at Big Creek nature preserves are open every day, all day. We are glad you’re here to enjoy our nature preserves. For the protection of yourself, other visitors and wildlife, please observe the following:

Welcome activities:

  • Hiking and running
  • Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and kicksledding
  • Birding and other nature study
  • Photography and videography for personal use
  • Dog-walking if dogs are kept on-leash (Note: dogs are not permitted at the Cove Preserve due to the presence of sensitive shoreline and nesting birds.)
  • Fishing at the Cove Preserve, in adherence with DNR regulations

Activities not permitted:

  • Unauthorized motorized vehicles other than mobility-assist units
  • Horseback riding
  • Camping
  • Unauthorized campfires
  • Hunting

Please respect our neighbors by remaining within Crossroads’ property boundaries. Please carry out all trash, including pet waste. Please treat all wildlife you encounter with respect. Thank you for your cooperation.

Crossroads issues an e-newsletter several times a year. You may opt out at any time.