eBird Bar Charts by Season
About Clifton Gorge
“Clifton Gorge” actually encompasses Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve at the east end, John Bryan State Park in the middle, and Glen Helen Ecology Institute at the west end. All are accessible to the public, except for part of the nature preserve – the scientific area on the south side of the river, which requires a permit for access.
This gorge, which was carved by the Little Miami River as it passed through dolomitic bedrock, is perhaps the most scenic area in western Ohio. Steep limestone cliffs are draped with White Cedar, a rare tree in Ohio, and spring wildflower displays are spectacular.
Many rare plants are protected here, too, and the site is of great interest botanically. All told, over 1000 acres are in protection, and most of this is accessible via a network of well-maintained trails. In addition, Glen Helen maintains an outstanding raptor rehabilitation center, and hawks and owls can be seen up close there.
Most entrances are located along OH-343, between OH-68 and OH-72, south and west of Springfield, Ohio. The western end of the area abuts the east side of the town of Yellow Springs.
Open all year during daylight hours.
There are numerous parking areas throughout the gorge, offering good access to the trails.
From Ohio Ornithological Society
Birds of Interest by Season
Most of our common winter woodland species, and winter finches are sometimes attracted to the conifers. Also, the visitor’s center at Glen Helen keeps feeders stocked, and those are always worth checking.
Good numbers and diversity of neotropical migrants. Migration periods can be particularly good birding, as the heavily wooded gorge is an oasis for birds in an area that is heavily agricultural.
Many of Ohio’s more common and widespread woodland breeders are easily found. Louisiana Waterthrush and Yellow-throated Warbler are easily found along the river, as are Belted Kingfisher and Wood Duck. Prothonotary Warbler is found on occasion. Upland, successional habitats often support Yellow-breasted Chat, and Blue-winged and Prairie Warblers.
Good numbers and diversity of neotropical migrants.
Restrooms at camping areas in John Bryan State Park and at Glen Helen.