Muskingum Recreational Trail–Dresden Main Street Trailhead

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Muskingum County

Muskingum Recreational Trail–Dresden Main St. Trailhead
Coordinates: 40.109718, -82.011052
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Photo by Chris Crook

Ohio Birding Day Hike
Muskingum Recreational Trail

Tips for birding from Dresden Main Street Trailhead
Following a former railroad grade south from the Village of Dresden, the trail starts out with open second growth and farm fields, then gradually turns into older growth with sparse understory. Crossing multiple small streams, the trail follows railroad tracks on one side and the river on the other, affording excellent view of the Muskingum. As the trail heads south the river pulls away and farm fields appear. The first section of the trail ends at Rock Cut Road, a small, remote parking area, before continuing south on the second section of trail. The paved trail is a pleasant walk or bike ride for all ages, and in spring the hillsides offer plenty of wildflowers to view for non-birding companions.

Tips for birding Muskingum Recreational Trail
A roughly six-mile trail stretching between Dresden and Ellis Dam in Muskingum County. It can be accessed from the north in Dresden, off Main Street, and in the midpoint off Rock Cut Road. From the south, it can be accessed off Ellis Dam Road. The northern end of the trail is mature forest, bordered on one side by the Muskingum River and the other by railroad tracks. The south end, starting from Rock Cut Road south to Ellis Dam, is only partially paved but still an easy walk or bike ride. This end features wider views of farm lands, wetlands and a lake. The Muskingum Valley Park District, which operates the trail, is building a wildlife observation deck on the south end, overlooking a wetlands. The extreme south end of the trail, near Ellis Dam, features a bridge over the Muskingum, affording fine views. As the trail comes to the bridge, the river bank descends toward the river but the trail stays level, affording near-treetop level views of mature river-side trees.
From Chris Crook

About Muskingum Recreational Trail
The Muskingum Recreational Trail is approximately six miles of asphalt trail connecting the Village of Dresden in Jefferson Township to Rock Cut Road in Muskingum Township. Much of the trail follows the Muskingum River and offers exceptional views of huge rock formations and myriad wildlife watching opportunities for bald eagles, turkey, beaver, and more. Funding for the construction of the first four miles of trail came from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Transportation Enhancement Program. In December 2011 new trail was opened through the Village of Dresden. The new trail was built with a grant from the Clean Ohio Trails Fund which is administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

A second section of the trail is open Rock Cut Road and Ellis Dam Road. This piece connects to a short section south of Ellis Dam Road and includes a restored railroad bridge which overlooks the Muskingum River and historic Lock 11 at Ellis Dam State Park.
From Muskingum Recreational Trail webpage

No restroom facilities. There are public restrooms in the Village of Dresden.
The asphalt section of the trail from Dresden to Rock Cut Road is wheelchair accessible.