Belmont 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.
Belmont County Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.
Belmont County, on the east border of Ohio near Wheeling, West Virginia, is one of Ohio’s “under-birded” counties (fewer than 1000 eBird checklists). This Birding Drive gives birders an opportunity to explore birding locations in the county and to help add data for bird sightings in Belmont County. I-70 runs through the county east and west.
Slope Creek Reservoir
Barnesville, Ohio 43713
From I-70, take Exit 202 near Hendrysburg. Turn south on OH-800 for 11 miles, going through Barnesville. Turn right onto Cline Road. Go 1.30 miles and turn right onto Mayberry Road/Slope Creek Road. Arrive at Slope Creek Reservoir.
Slope Creek Reservoir also known as Barnesville Reservoir #3, is located in Belmont County in the eastern part of the state. The entire lake lies within Somerset Township.
Slope Creek Reservoir was created by the city of Barnesville for water supply and recreational purposes. The lake was formed by damming Slope Creek, which created this 89-acre impoundment. The area around Slope Creek Reservoir consists of sandstone hills and valleys which are covered by second growth forest. This area was one of the earliest areas settled in Ohio and has a rich local history.
Belmont Centerville Road (OH-147)
Belmont, Ohio 43718
From Slope Creek Reservoir, retrace your route to OH-800 and return to Barnesville. Turn right on OH-147 and take this road to Belmont. Take Belmont exit off I-70. Proceed south toward the town of Belmont on OH-149. In Belmont, turn off OH-149 and on to highway OH-147 heading south. Drive south approximately 5 miles. A small wooden Dysart sign on the right indicates the entrance to the property. Rustic restrooms are located adjacent to the white farmhouse on the left. Parking is available at the trailheads.
The Dysart Woods Laboratory is located in unglaciated southeastern Ohio. In contrast to the glaciated part of the state this area is characteristically hilly with local relief exceeding 200 feet. The sedimentary bedrock throughout the region is composed mostly of sandstone and shale with coal seams occurring variably from near the surface to hundreds of feet underground. The rainfall and temperature conditions are generally well suited for the development of deciduous forests. Dysart Woods, a 50-acre tract of old-growth oak forest located in Belmont County, is the largest known remnant of the original forest of southeastern Ohio.
Barkcamp State Park
65330 Barkcamp Road
Belmont, Ohio 43718
From Dysart Woods, retrace your route back to Belmont. Take OH-149 north for 1.5 miles. Turn right on Loy Road and follow the signs to Barkcamp State Park.
Barkcamp State Park is the most birded location in Belmont County. Over 130 bird species have been reported at the state park and the list should continue to grow as more birders visit the park in all seasons of the year.
The sandstone hills of the Barkcamp region are part of the Appalachian highlands which envelop the southeastern part of Ohio. In the sandstone bedrock can be found layers of coal which were formed by decaying swamp vegetation millions of years ago during the Pennsylvanian geologic period. Barkcamp State Park lies in the heart of the coal-mining region of Ohio. The hills and valleys of the area are clothed with a second-growth forest. Today, southeastern Ohio is one of the most extensively forested in Ohio, and only a few areas remain which suggest the magnificence of these original forests. The woodlands of Barkcamp support a variety of plant and animal life. The observant visitor may find a wealth of woodland wildflowers including wild geranium, hepatica, bloodroot and spring beauties. The woodlands explode with flowering dogwood and redbud blossoms in spring. Songbirds, squirrels, skunk, opossum, raccoon, white-tailed deer and the wild turkey take up residence in the park’s varying habitats.
Egypt Valley Wildlife Area
Morristown, Ohio 43759
From Barkcamp State Park, return to OH-149 and drive north about 5 miles. Turn left on Smith County Road and continue to Egypt Valley Wildlife Area.
Egypt Valley Wildlife Area is situated in the southeastern part of Ohio, in Belmont and Guernsey counties. The primary access to the area is I-70 and OH-800. Morristown is located 3 miles east of the wildlife area. Land acquisition for the Egypt Valley Wildlife Area began in 1995 with 14,300 acres being purchased from The Conservation Fund. Ducks Unlimited, The National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Ruffed Grouse Society all partnered with the Division of Wildlife in the purchase and to date approximately 18,011 acres have been acquired. Piedmont Lake, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake, managed by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is located in the middle of the two land parcels that make up Egypt Valley Wildlife Area.