Pleasant Hill Lake 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.

Pleasant Hill Lake Birding Drive
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This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots around Pleasant Hill Lake in Ashland and Richland Counties. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.

Richland County

Pleasant Hill Lake Park
Perrysville, Ohio 44864

From I-71, take Exit 169 for OH-13 toward Bellville and Mansfield. Turn left onto OH-13 south for .3 mile. Turn left onto East Hanley Road and drive 2 miles. Turn right onto Washington South Road and go .3 mile. Keep left to continue on Pleasant Valley Road and drive 6.1 miles. Turn right onto OH-603 south and go .4 mile. Turn left onto OH-95 east and drive 1.9 miles. Turn right in to Pleasant Hill Lake Park.

Pleasant Hill Lake Park is located In Richland and Ashland counties, near Perrysville, Ohio, and is accessible by OH-39 or OH-603 to OH-95. The park includes 850 acres of water, 1,345 acres of surrounding land, and 13 miles of shoreline.

The public launch ramp is located on Covert Road, off OH-95. There are 385 campsites (class A with full hookups and electric hookups) available on a first come, first-served basis. Seasonal camping is available at a discounted rate. The park has a swimming beach, special events, game courts, two-bedroom vacation cabins, concession stand, playground, picnic shelters, camper cabins, hot showers, modern restrooms. The Pleasant Hill Marina provides docking, rental boats, fuel, limited supplies. Open April 15 – October 15, 9:00am – 9:00pm. Hunting is permitted in all nonrestricted areas and regulated by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Fish are stocked by the ODNR Division of Wildlife, District 2.

Several short hiking trails are located inside the park. Nearby Mohican State Forest offers many hiking trails. Camp Nuhop and the Wooster Outdoor Center are located on the shoreline of Pleasant Hill Lake.
From Pleasant Hill Lake Park website

Malabar Farm State Park
4050 Bromfield Road
Lucas, Ohio 44843

From Pleasant Hill Lake Park, turn left onto OH-95 west and drive 1.9 miles. Turn right onto OH-603 north and drive .4 mile. Turn left onto Pleasant Valley Road and go .9 mile. Turn left onto Bromfield Road and then right into Malabar State Park.

Malabar Farm was the Ohio home of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and conservationist, Louis Bromfield. Malabar Farm State Park offers a variety of activities, including tours of the big house, hiking, hayrides, and a program of special events in the rich, green surroundings so beloved by Bromfield. Amenities include a youth hostel, primitive campground, horse camp, an on-site, award-winning restaurant, and picnic grounds. The park, however, aspires to a larger educational function as well. It already maintains a working farm (on a smaller scale than of old, lacking Bromfield’s lavish staff), exhibits on grass farming, interpretive programs, and a twenty-five-hundred-volume library on sustainable agriculture.
From Malabar Farm website

Pleasant Hill Lake–Clear Fork River
Perrysville, Ohio 44864

From Malabar Farm State Park, turn left onto Bromfield. Turn right onto Pleasant Valley Road and go .9 mile. Turn right onto OH-603 and go .4 mile. Turn right onto OH-95 west and drive 1.1 miles. Turn left onto Pleasant Hill Road and arrive at the parking area on the left for the Clear Fork River trails in .1 mile.

There are trails on either side of the Clear Fork River maintained by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.

Pleasant Hill Lake–Barron Road Access
Perrysville, Ohio 44864

From the Clear Fork River trailhead, drive east on Pleasant Hill Road for 1.1 miles. Turn left onto Barron Road for .3 mile. When Barron Road turns east, park and walk north to the lake.

Barron Road Access is a good spot to check for terns in late summer and early fall. There are a number of logs and stumps sticking out of the water in this area and the terns like to rest on them. In 2013 a friend of mine had all 4 species of terns that are regular for this area at this spot.
From Eli M. Miller

Ashland County

Mohican State Park–Lodge Area
Loudonville, Ohio 44842

From Barron Road Access, drive south on Barron Road for .3 mile. Turn left onto Pleasant Hill Road and drive 1.1 miles. Turn right onto McCurdy Road and follow for .7 mile. Turn left onto Goon Road and follow for 2.1 miles. Arrive at the Mohican State Park Lodge and Conference Center.

The trails at Mohican State Park offer plenty of opportunities to appreciate the beauty of nature while getting a good dose of exercise. The park offers 13 miles of hiking trails and an additional 32 miles can be found in the adjacent Mohican-Memorial State Forest. These trails are also perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing during the winter.

Between Mohican State Park and Mohican-Memorial State Forest, explorers looking to venture by foot will find a variety of one- and two-mile hiking trails that vary by degree of difficulty. For beautiful views of the lake, follow the Pleasant Hill Trail. To finish at the scenic wooden bridge, follow the Hemlock Gorge Trail.
From Mohican State Park Lodge and Conference Center website

Pleasant Hill Lake Dam
Loudonville, Ohio 44842

From the Mohican State Park Lodge, drive east on Goon Road for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto County Road 3006 and drive .9 mile. Arrive at the Pleasant Hill Dam.

The Pleasant Hill Dam provides views of birds on Pleasant Hill Lake as well as on the river side of the dam.

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) owns Pleasant Hill Lake. The lake was constructed in 1938 by damming the Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River. The lake was originally constructed primarily for flood control in the Muskingum River watershed. Today, recreation is one of the biggest public benefits. The ODNR Division of Wildlife manages the lake under an agreement to provide public fishing and hunting.
From Pleasant Hill Lake webpage