Hocking County Birding Drive

Ohio Birding Drives

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.

Hocking County Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.

This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in Hocking County. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio. Birders can spend a full day at any one of these birding locations in Hocking County. This drive is designed to give you a sample of birding five locations, but you will have to watch how much time you spend at each to be able to visit all five.

Hocking County

Wayne National Forest–Rutherford Wetland and Anderson Nature Trail
Logan, Ohio 43138

From US-33, take the OH-595 exit and go north on OH-595 for 2.8 miles. Turn right onto OH-278 south and drive 1.7 miles. The parking area for the Rutherford Wetland and Anderson Nature Trail is on the right.

Rutherford Wetland, located in the Monday Creek floodplain, has an interesting history. The land is part of Ward Township, organized in 1836. The bottom lands along Monday Creek were cleared for farming. As the Mineral Railroad expanded, and the railroad line built to haul timber and coal from New Straitsville, the hydrology of the floodplain began changing. The railroad bed caused water to back up onto the farm fields—not just during the spring floods, but throughout the year. Farmers could no longer use the fields to grow crops, and after a period of time, the fields were allowed to grow back into brush and trees. The Forest Service acquired this bottomland area in the early 1990s. Today, a shrub-scrub wetland can be found alongside a second growth floodplain forest. Beaver soon moved into the area and dammed the culvert that once drained part of the field. Water further backed up into the area creating a diverse wetland.

The Anderson Nature Trail is a fully accessible .5 mile hiking trail and the newest trail on Athens District of the Wayne National Forest. The surfaced trail is built on an abandoned railroad bed. The first portion of the trail lies between the wetland and the Monday Creek bottom land. Further down the trail, visitors will walk through a pine plantation, a hardwood forest, and along a pond.

Lake Logan State Park
30443 Lake Logan Road
Logan, Ohio 43138

From the Anderson Nature Trail, retrace your route by driving southwest on OH-278 for 1.7 miles. Turn left onto OH-595 south and drive 2.8 miles. Turn right to merge onto US-33 west and drive 6.8 miles. Exit onto OH-664 and drive 2.1 miles. Turn right onto Lake Logan Road and drive 1.6 miles to Lake Logan State Park.

Much time has passed since the region surrounding Lake Logan was first uplifted from the ancient sea that once covered most of Ohio. This unglaciated plateau in the southeastern part of the state is Ohio’s oldest landscape as the glaciers never invaded the region. Lake Logan State Park lies in the Hocking Valley, formed by the Hocking River. The Hocking was a major outlet for glacial meltwaters. These waters deposited large amounts of outwash material, primarily sand and gravel, which strongly affected the type of biological communities present today

The forest surrounding Lake Logan is, for the most part, an oak-hickory association. White and black oak, tuliptree, shagbark and pignut hickory are the most dominant species. The forest floor is dotted with a variety of wildflowers such as fire pink, wintergreen, bluets, and spring beauties. Ground cover plants include greenbriar, blueberry, and numerous ferns and fungi.

Lake Logan is home to the raccoon, opossum, skunk, red-backed salamander, gray squirrel, box turtle, white-tailed deer and wild turkey. Many birds frequent the area such as the turkey vulture, red-tailed hawk, barn owl, pileated woodpecker, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, wood thrush and scarlet tanager. Various species of waterfowl can be viewed during migration.

Clear Creek Metro Park–Fern, Hemlock, and Cemetery Ridge Trails
Rockbridge, Ohio 43149

From Lake Logan State Park, drive northwest on Lake Logan Road for 2.3 miles. Turn right onto OH-180 east and go .2 mile. Turn left to merge onto US-33 west and drive 4.1 miles. Turn left onto Clear creek Road and go 2.9 miles. The parking area for the trails is on the left.

Clear Creek Valley is one of the most pristine and secluded natural areas in Central Ohio. Variations of land surfaces, soils and climates have produced a medley of habitats that harbor more than 800 plant species and 150 species of birds, many of them rare.

On this trip, you will probably have time to walk on just one of the three trails in this area.
+ Fern Trail: 1.7 miles – moderate to difficult –hike. Goes along a steep ridge and through a forest which includes pines and hemlocks.
+ Hemlock Trail: 1.5 miles – difficult – hike –dirt and gravel. Descends and ascends a steep ravine and goes through shady hemlock groves, sandstone outcroppings, a carpet of ferns and ridges topped hardwood trees.
+ Cemetery Ridge Trail: 2.5 miles – moderate to difficult – hike ­– dirt and gravel. Begins with a steep zigzag ascent through the woods peaking at about 700 feet. At the top of the ridge the trail alternates between forest and meadows.

Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve
24858 Big Pine Road
Rockbridge, Ohio 43149

From the parking area for the Clear Creek Metro Parks trails, turn right onto Clear Creek Road and go 1 mile. Turn right onto Starner Road and drive 2 miles. Turn left onto Cantwell Cliffs Road and go .9 mile. Turn right onto Big Cola Road and drive 3.1 miles. Turn right onto OH-374 west and follow OH-374 for 7.4 miles. Arrive at Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve.

Conkles Hollow is one of the most spectacular features within the Hocking Hills region. Its sheer cliffs of Black Hand sandstone rise nearly 200 feet above the valley floor. The deep, cool gorge, which is only 100 feet wide in places and is considered by some to be the deepest in Ohio, has numerous waterfalls cascading over its sandstone cliffs. The Lower Gorge trail was recently redesigned to accommodate visitors of all abilities.

The cliff tops with their magnificent overlooks and the quiet gorge beneath offer visitors an opportunity to explore different habitats, each with its own unique plant and animal communities.

Hocking Hills State Park–Old Mans Cave
Logan, Ohio 43138

Drive southeast to follow OH-374 for 5 miles. Turn right onto Kalklosch Road and arrive at Old Mans Cave. (Please, note that there are a number of eBird hotspots in the Hocking Hills State Park. This is one suggestion of a stop on this trip.)

The most popular of all the Hocking areas is Old Man’s Cave, located on OH-664. Here at the Upper Falls, the Grandma Gatewood Trail begins its six-mile course connecting three of the park’s areas: Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls to Ash Cave. This same trail has been designated as part of Ohio’s Buckeye Trail as well as part of two national systems – the North Country Scenic Trail and America’s Discovery Trail.

Old Man’s Cave derives its name from the hermit Richard Rowe who lived in the large recess cave of the gorge. His family moved to the Ohio River Valley around 1796 from the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee to establish a trading post. He and his two dogs traveled through Ohio along the Scioto River in search of game. On one side trip up Salt Creek, he found the Hocking Region. Rowe lived out his life in the area and is buried beneath the ledge of the main recess cave. Earlier residents of the cave were two brothers, Nathaniel and Pat Rayon, who came to the area in 1795. They built a permanent cabin 30 feet north of the cave entrance. Both brothers are buried in or near the cave. Their cabin was later dismantled and relocated on the nearby Iles farm to be used as a tobacco drying house.

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