Jackson County Birding Drive

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.

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

Jackson County is one of Ohio’s “under-birded” counties (fewer than 1000 eBird checklists). This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in the county. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.

Coalton Wildlife Area

From US-35, take the OH-93 exit toward Coalton and Jackson. Turn north on OH-93 and drive 1.2 miles. Turn left on Jackson Hill Road and drive 1.7 miles. Turn right onto Raysville Road and drive 1.3 miles. Arrive at Coalton Wildlife area.

The topography of the wildlife area varies from steep and rocky to rolling hills. Trails established through previous logging activity allow easy access on foot through most of the property. Nearly all of this wildlife area is wooded. Oak, hickory, and yellow poplar are the dominant tree species.

White-tailed deer, wild turkey, squirrel, and cottontail rabbit are the principal game species. All furbearers known to this region are also common here. A rich variety of songbirds is also present due to the diverse forest types found here.

Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve

Rock Run Road Jackson, Ohio 45640

From Coalton Wildlife Area, drive west on Raysville Road for 1.3 miles. Turn right onto Jackson Hill Road and go .9 mile. Turn right onto Sunnydale Road for .2 mile. Make a slight right onto OH-84 and drive 1.7 miles. Continue straight onto Chillicothe Street and go .5 mile. Chillicothe Street turns slightly right and becomes Bridge Street for .3 mile. Turn right onto State Street and go .7 mile. Continue straight onto Beaver Pike and drive 1.1 miles. Turn right onto Lake Katharine Road and arrive at Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve in 1.6 miles.

Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve is a magnificent natural area in southeast Ohio’s Jackson County. It was dedicated as a state nature preserve through the foresight and generosity of two long-time business partners, Edwin A. Jones and James J. McKitterick.

The focal point of this preserve is a clear water lake surrounded by towering sandstone cliffs. The rich Appalachian forest is cut by three deep ravines in which are found magnolias, eastern hemlock, sweet gum, birch, and beech. The dry ridge tops support an association of mountain laurel, Virginia pine, and oak. The preserve has many native orchids as well as diverse spring flora. Lake Katharine harbors the state’s largest and finest populations of both bigleaf and umbrella magnolia trees, both state-listed species.

Hammertown Lake

County Road 74 Jackson, Ohio 45640

From Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve, drive west on Lake Katharine Road for 1.6 miles. Turn left onto Beaver Pike and drive 1.1 miles. Continue straight onto State Street for .2 mile. Turn right onto Ohio Avenue and drive .3 mile. Turn right onto West South Street for .2 mile. Continue onto Jisco West Road and go .5 mile. Turn left to stay on Jisco West Road for 1.9 miles. Turn right onto Hammertown Lake Road and arrive at Hammertown Lake in 1.4 miles.

Hammertown Lake is also known as Jackson City Reservoir. Hammertown Lake area offers an abundance of outdoor activities which include fishing, hunting, hiking, and horse riding trails. There are three boat launching locations around the lake, and numerous game fish call the lake home. A shelter house, restrooms, and playground equipment provide a great opportunity for family outings. Hunting is allowed only in the areas that are designated. The horse trails are marked in various locations and provide spectacular views of the lake and surrounding area.

The city owns and controls 1,400 acres which include the majority of the drainage area into the lake. It is forested with 150,000 pine trees and used as a recreation area.

Jackson Lake SP

35 Tommy Been Road Oak Hill, Ohio 45656

From Hammertown Lake, drive southwest on Hammertown Lake Road for 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Jisco West Road for .3 mile. Turn left onto Stewart Road and go .4 mile. Turn right onto OH-776 and drive 1.4 miles. Turn left onto OH-124 east and drive 3 miles. Turn right onto OH-139 south and drive 1.2 miles. Turn left onto Sheward Road for .2 mile. Turn right onto Russ Road for .7 mile. Make a slight right onto 4 Mile Road and drive 6.8 miles. Turn left onto OH-279 east and drive 3 miles. Jackson Lake is on the left.

Jackson Lake is located within the 349-acre Jackson Lake State Park. This public area is in Jefferson Township, Jackson County, approximately two miles west of Oak Hill. Jackson Lake is accessible off OH-279 as well as Tommy Been Road.

The park is home to a variety of animals including white-tailed deer and wild turkey. Other residents are skunks, raccoons, opossums, numerous songbirds, gray squirrels, great horned owls and many reptiles and amphibians. The park’s varying habitats support beautiful displays of wildflowers spring through autumn including spring beauties, dame’s violet, goldenrod, and asters.

Rugged hills and mist-filled valleys provide a colorful backdrop for Jackson Lake State Park. Two miles west of the town of Oak Hill, Jackson Lake is situated in one of the most picturesque regions of the state. The Jackson Lake area, in addition to its outstanding natural features, is endowed with a rich cultural history that spans many centuries.

Cooper Hollow Wildlife Area

Oak Hill, Ohio 45656

From Jackson Lake, drive northeast on OH-279 for 1.3 miles. OH-279 turns left onto Front Street, then turns right onto East Main Street. Continue on OH-279 for .6 mile. Make a slight left onto Moriah Road then turn left to stay on Moriah Road for .6 mile. Turn right to stay on Moriah Road for 2.1 miles. Turn left onto Cooper Hollow Road and arrive at Cooper Hollow Wildlife Area in 1.3 miles.

The 5,421-acre Cooper Hollow Wildlife Area lies 12 miles southeast of Jackson on US-35. The scenic rolling hills are dissected by Symmes Creek, a small, low-gradient stream, and several of its tributaries.

More than half the area is wooded. Oak and hickory are the most common upland trees, with elm, ash, and silver maple along the streams. Virginia pine occurs in reverting upland fields. Index of Ohio’s trees from the Division of Forestry. Twenty percent of the area consists of reverting old fields with a mixture of shrubby coverts and native grasses. Wild crabapple, hawthorn, flowering dogwood, sassafras, sumac, and Japanese honeysuckle are important wildlife food species in these old fields.

Keystone Furnace

Jackson, Ohio 45640

From Cooper Hollow Wildlife Area, drive northwest on Cooper Hollow Road for 1.6 miles. Continue onto Vega Road for 1.1 miles. Turn left to stay on Vega Road for 1.9 miles. Turn right onto Dixon Run Road for 3.5 miles. Continue straight onto Keystone Furnace Road for 2.2 miles. Arrive at Keystone Furnace.

Keystone Furnace is on private property. The owner lives just east of the furnace site -take the road to the first driveway on the left. She will generally give access as long as you don’t intend to cause any damage and agree to pick up any trash you find on the site. She is very partial to her snakes, so don’t hurt any of them as you head up the driveway.