Springfield, Ohio 45502
Buck Creek State Park webpage
Buck Creek State Park map
C. J. Brown Reservoir map
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Buck Creek State Park Prairie View Trails
This 3.5-mile hike begins at the Prairie View Area parking lot, visits the lake at the Visitor Center, and takes Overlook Road and the Buckhorn Trail to Crabill House with views of the lake there. Since this hike visits three eBird hotspots, please start a new checklist as you move to a new hotspot. If you make a single checklist for the hike, please submit it to the general hotspot for Buck Creek State Park.
Park at the Prairie View Area hotspot parking lot from the Croft Road entrance to the park.
The first part of the hike is in the “Prairie View” hotspot. Walk south past the restrooms into the woods to Buck Creek (200 yards). Turn left (east) and walk along the creek (100 yards). When you come out onto a paved path turn left (north) and walk thru the woods. Follow the paved path to the right (east) then left (north) around the prairie (below the reservoir) up to the Visitor’s Center (1/2 mile).
You are now at the “Clarence J. Brown Reservoir Overlook” hotspot. Enter the woods behind the flagpole and follow the path (1/4 mile) around as it meanders near the lake. (You can exit the woods at different places to view the lake then rejoin the path.) The path brings you out of the woods below and east of the Visitor’s Center between it and the lake. Walk up the road back to and past the Visitor’s Center (heading west) past the Maintenance Building and the playground/picnic area until you come to the path overlooking the reservoir’s “overflow inlet”.(300 yards). Turn around and go back (east) towards the Visitor’s Center 50 yards then turn right (south) and follow the path along the woods down to the prairie. (1/4 mile) (Your car is parked ahead of you across the prairie.) At the prairie turn right (west) and walk to the paved road (200 yards). Turn right (north) to walk along Crabill Rd. (untraveled by cars).
You are now walking the “Buckhorn Trail” hotspot. Follow this road north (1.2 miles) birding along the way, it becomes a stone road, to the old Crabill House where you can look out onto the reservoir.
Return along the same road you just walked past the prairie until it dead-ends onto the park entrance road you originally came in on and turn left (east). This takes you to the “Prairie View” parking lot where your car is in 200 yards.
Thanks to Dan Kempf for suggesting the route for this hike.
Other trails at Buck Creek State Park
Lakeview Trail – 2.9 miles – Moderate
Wrens Nest Trail – 0.25 miles – Moderate
Dam Walk Trail – 0.64 miles – Moderate
Meadow Trails – 2.0 miles – Moderate (several connected paths)
Bridle trails (moderate difficulty, 7.5 miles) are also open to hiking and snowmobiling (weather permitting).
A nearby multi-purpose trail, the Buck Creek Trail, connects the state park other community trails, the Springfield Museum of Art, and local parks.
Tips for birding Buck Creek State Park
Buck Creek State Park near Springfield in Clark County is the Ohio eBird hotspot with the highest number of bird species reported in the state! This state park is fairly compact and is entirely in Clark County. It has been well birded over the years by several birders who view birds on the C. J. Brown Reservoir from various vantage points and use the general hotspot to report these checklists. If you visit this state park and view birds from several locations, please use the general hotspot to report those checklists. In addition, there are several hotspots which may be used when you are birding trails on the east or west sides of the reservoir. The “Northeast Lake Access” hotspot is located at a parking area off Grant Road. You may park there and walk to the northeast corner of the reservoir. This location can, in some years, have shorebird habitat during migration and is often a place where the lake first has open water in the early spring.
Also, see these tips from Ohio Ornithological Society website.
About Buck Creek State Park
The natural features of Buck Creek State Park can be attributed to the effects of glaciers which receded from Ohio over 12,000 years ago. Low hills called moraines can be seen in the area where glaciers halted for extended periods of time and left deposits of gravel and sand. Old river valleys were filled by these deposits where numerous springs now well up through the sand and gravel. The nearby city of Springfield is named for the many springs seeping up from the broad meadows. The springs account for the many bogs and fens in Clark and Champaign counties of which Cedar Bog is probably the best known.
These wet areas harbor an assortment of rare and unusual plants including round-leaved sundew and horned bladderwort. The spotted turtle, a state endangered animal, is found in the area. The northernmost region of the park is an excellent area to observe waterfowl. The shallow waters provide a stopover for thousands of migrating ducks. Relatively rare songbirds of open meadows are also present including dickcissels, bobolinks, and Henslow sparrows.
From Buck Creek State Park webpage
Restrooms at picnic areas identified on Buck Creek State Park map.