Zaleski State Forest 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 several eBird hotspots in Zaleski State Forest and Lake Hope State Park, which is entirely within the state forest. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio. This is only one of many possible routes to drive through this excellent birding habitat.
Zaleski State Forest–Hunt Hollow
From the intersection of OH-93, head east on OH-56 to the small town of New Plymouth then head South on OH-328. Enter the Forest at Hunt Hollow. Turn left on County Road 1 and go .3 mile. Turn right onto Hunt Hollow Road (Forest Road 18). (Note that Google maps incorrectly labels this as an extension of Long Ridge Road.)
You should be able to find most of the regular warblers and other passerines in the 2 miles on Forest Road 18 in Hunt Hollow.
The Zaleski State Forest is the second largest forest in the system. The Zaleski State Forest Backpack Trail was established on the forest to provide backpacking opportunities as well as to introduce some scenic and historic aspects of the forest. The main trail is a loop of 23.5 miles. There is also a 10-mile day loop trail.
Zaleski State Forest–Long Ridge Road
Long Ridge Road (Forest Road 15) traverses 5.9 of Zaleski State Forest from the gate at the Forest Service Center on the southwest to Irish Ridge Road on the east end. This road is easily reached via Hunt Hollow from OH-328. At the junction of Hunt Hollow Road with Long Ridge Road, turn right (southwest) to bird the Long Ridge Road to the dead end at the gate near the Forest Service Center. Return to the junction and continue birding on Long Ridge Road until you reach Irish Ridge Road.
Zaleski State Forest–Irish Ridge Road
Irish Ridge Road runs 2.4 miles south from Long Ridge Road to OH-278. (This road is also labeled Bolin Road on Google maps.)
Irish Ridge is one of the better roads in the forest of a good variety of bird species. On the north side of Forest Road 15, just west of the intersection with Irish Ridge is an excellent clear cut where you can get out and hike around a bit.
Lake Hope State Park–Nature Center and Campground
From Irish Ridge Road, turn right on OH-278 and then turn right onto Furnace Ridge Road. Drive .7 mile to the parking area for the Lake Hope State Park Nature Center.
This is an opportunity to walk and bird near the Nature Center and in the Campground. A trail north of the Nature Center leads west to the east side of Lake Hope.
From the Nature Center parking lot, return to OH-278. Turn right onto OH-278 and go 1.5 miles. Turn right onto Park Road 9 and continue straight ahead on Park Road 12 when Park Road 9 turns right. Continue .5 mile to a parking lot at the end of Park Road 9.
There are two trails which give views of birds on Lake Hope.
+ The Hope Furnace Trail, 3.2 miles, leaves from Hope Furnace on the east side of the lake then goes north and then turns west along the north side of Lake Hope.
+ The Peninsula Trail, 3 miles, is along the south side of Lake Hope.
Zaleski State Forest–Baptist Church Road
From Lake Hope, return to OH-278. Turn left onto OH-278 and then turn right onto Wheelabout Road. Follow Wheelabout Road for 2.4 miles, then continue straight ahead onto Atkinson Ridge Road for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Baptist Church Road.
Baptist Church Road runs south for 2 miles from Atkinson Ridge Road to Wheelabout Road. Baptist Church Road is a good place to look for Pine Warblers and Prairie Warblers.
Zaleski State Forest–Will Tract
From the south end of Baptist Church Road, turn right onto Wheelabout Road and go 1.7 miles. Make a slight right onto OH-278 north and go 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Township Highway F3 and drive into the Will Tract.
Bird the roads in the Will Tract from your vehicle.