Athens County Birding Drive
Ohio Birding Drives are routes for birding trips which can be accomplished in one day, stopping to walk and bird at various eBird hotspots. For each birding drive, a Google map is provided with the route and suggested stops at eBird hotspots. You may save the link to the Google map on your smartphone or tablet, or print a copy on paper to take with you. Links are provided with information about each eBird hotspot. Follow those links for more information about birding each location.
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.
This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in Athens County. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.
Township Highway 674
Athens, Ohio 45701
From Athens, take US-50 west for 7.4 miles. Turn right onto Lake Snowden Road and arrive at Lake Snowden in .2 mile.
Lake Snowden was developed as a part of the Margaret Creek Watershed Project. The dam was completed in July 1970 across a branch of Margaret Creek. Recreation pool was achieved in April 1972. Lake Snowden provides flood control, water supply, and recreational benefits.
The watershed consists of rolling hills, woods, and open fields. The narrow ratio of watershed area to surface area provides good water clarity. Maximum water depth is 42 feet. The shoreline and bottom material varies from silty clay loam to sandy loam soils. Deepwater structure is limited due to brush removal during the construction phase. Submerged trees, overhanging brush, and rooted aquatic vegetation provide shoreline habitat.
Lake Snowden is 6 miles southwest of Athens and 1 mile northeast of Albany, with access from US-50.
Athens, Ohio 45701
From Lake Snowden, turn left onto US-50 east and drive 6.3 miles. Use the right lane to merge onto OH-32, US-33, and US-50 via the ramp to Columbus and Belpre and drive 1.1 miles. Take Exit 17 for OH-682 and drive 1.4 miles. At the traffic circle take the third exit onto Richland Avenue. Turn right onto Dairy Lane, turn right onto South Park Drive, turn left onto Water Tower Drive, continue straight onto Piggery Lane, and arrive at the parking area for The Ridges.
River Valley Nature Trail: This is a short loop trail built by River Valley School students, 2/3 mile long. It has its own parking area along OH-682 (Whites Mill Road), 2/3 mile east of OH-56 (West Union Street) and 3/4 mile west of Richland Avenue.
Old roadways: There are gravel roads in open, mown areas on The Ridges that are popular with walkers. The main road goes from the water tower west to Radar Hill (0.8 miles) and an intersecting road that goes to Dairy Lane (0.6 miles).
The Ridges Cemetery Nature Walk: This is a 1.3-mile trail built by Hocking College students that begins at the Dairy Barn on Dairy Lane, and extends to the Water Tower Road, near the water tower. It passes through all three of the old cemeteries on the property. The trail crosses Piggery Lane just west of the parking area.
Athens Trail: There are two unofficial segments of the Athens Trail on The Ridges. One goes from the Southside Park picnic area west of South Park Road up to The Ridges Cemetery Nature Walk. The other goes from near Whites Mill Road (OH-682) across from Whites Mill, up to the edge of the woods just northwest of Radar Hill. The trail is planned to extend all the way across The Ridges, but approval is still pending.
To reach The Ridges in Athens, go south on Congress Street, which becomes Richland Avenue. Continue on Richland Avenue through the roundabout (just after the bridge over the Hocking River), then take the next right on Dairy Lane. The eastern section of Southside Park is now immediately to your right. Continue to the next street to your right, which is South Park Drive, and turn right. The western section of Southside Park is now on your left. Go up the hill and take the first left, Piggery Lane, to the parking area. Total driving distance from downtown Athens to the parking area: 1.5 miles.
Hockhocking Adena Bikeway–Hocking River, Athens
Athens, Ohio 45701
From the Ridges, drive east on Piggery Lane. Turn right onto South Park Drive, turn left onto Dairy Lane, and turn left onto Richland Avenue. At the traffic circle, take the second exit and stay on Richland Avenue. Turn left onto South Shafer Street and go .4 mile. Turn left onto Hospital Drive, make a slight left and arrive at the parking area for the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway on the Hocking River.
You can walk the bike trail in either direction to observe birds on the Hocking River.
The 19-mile Hockhocking Adena Bikeway is named in honor of the first inhabitants of this southeastern Ohio region. “Hockhocking,” which means “bottleneck” or “twisted,” was the native Indian name for the Hocking River; Adena reflects the history of the Adena Indians who lived in the Hocking Valley over 2,000 years ago.
You may explore the bikeway’s history and beauty by bike, foot, wheelchair, rollerblades or other forms of non-motorized transportation (no horseback riding permitted.)
The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway is located on the old Columbus and Hocking Valley Railroad bed. Construction of the rail line between Columbus and Athens was completed in July 1870. Before the railroad, it was a towpath alongside the Hocking Canal, built between 1829 and 1842, which moved agricultural products and other goods to Carroll, Ohio, where it joined the Ohio-Erie Canal. The canal had 26 locks, seven culverts, and one aqueduct crossing Monday Creek south of Nelsonville.
Repeated flooding, especially in the late 1800’s, severely damaged portions of the canal, and the railroad became the favored mode of transportation. Today, remnants of the canal basin are visible from the bikeway particularly from Armitage north to Chauncey (between miles 5 and 10).
Strouds Run State Park
11661 State Park Road
Athens, Ohio 45701
From the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, turn left on Hospital Drive, then turn right onto West Union Street and go .3 mile. Turn left onto South Shafer Street, turn right onto West State Street, turn left onto Cemetery, turn right at First Street, and turn left onto North Lancaster Street. Continue straight onto Columbia Avenue and go 1 mile. Make a slight right onto Strouds Run Drive and drive 3.2 miles. Turn right into Strouds Run State Park and go .2 mile to the parking area near the lake.
Strouds Run State Park is located in the scenic forested hills of Athens County, in the midst of the unglaciated Appalachian Plateau. Although untouched by the vast ice sheets that moved across portions of the state over 12,000 years ago, the effects of the glaciers can be seen today in the deep ravines and high hills of Strouds Run. Stream valleys served as outlets for torrents of glacial meltwaters. The erosion power of these waters began carving valleys and hillsides into the familiar topography Ohioans know today. Large deposits of glacial outwash, primarily sand and gravel, were deposited along these streams and strongly affected the type of biological communities present today at the park.
Wayne National Forest–Big Bailey Wetland
Millfield, Ohio 45761
From Strouds Run State Park, turn left onto Strouds Run Road and drive 3.6 miles. Continue onto Columbia Avenue for .3 mile. Turn right onto Joneswood Drive and go .3 mile. Turn left onto Terrace Drive and go .2 mile. Turn right onto Columbus Road and drive 1 mile. Continue onto OH-550, turn left onto OH-13, and drive 4.5 miles. Turn left onto Big Bailey Run Road and arrive at the Big Bailey Wetland in .8 mile.
Big Bailey wetland is located on the Athens Ranger District of the Wayne National Forest. The approximately 6-7 acre wetland is located at the junction of Big Bailey Road (County Road 29) and Carr Bailey Road. Located in northern Athens County, one mile north and west of Chauncey, Big Bailey has existed ever since the mine operated railroad was abandoned about 70 years ago. Today it provides habitat for a wide diversity of bird, reptile, amphibian, and mammal species. A small Great Blue Heron rookery is located on the uppermost end of the wetland.
Bird Species that can be seen at Big Bailey include:
Great Blue Herons, Mallards, Wood Ducks, Canada Geese, Kingfisher, Red-winged Blackbirds, Tree Swallows, Screech Owls, Northern Flicker, Eastern Kingbird, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Mockingbird, Song Sparrow.