Muskingum 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.

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

This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in Muskingum County. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.

Dillon SP

Dillon Hills Drive Nashport, Ohio 43830

From Zanesville, take OH-146 west for 7.2 miles. Turn left onto Clay Littick Drive and go 0.6 miles. Arrive at Dillon State Park.

Dillon State Park in Muskingum County is situated in an area of the state that possesses diverse and interesting natural features resulting from the unique properties of the Black Hand Sandstone. Sand, eroded hundreds of millions of years ago from mountains farther east, accumulated in a vast delta in the sea covering the region. This hard bedrock erodes to form sheer cliffs and supports a lush, hardwood forest.

The rolling, reverting farmland of the Dillon area provides visitors the opportunity to see some of Ohio’s most magnificent wildlife. White-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, and wild turkey can be seen by quiet observers. During migration, numerous species of waterfowl visit Dillon’s waters and sightings of bald eagles have also been reported.

Dillon Wildlife Area--Pleasant Valley Rd. Access

Nashport, Ohio 43830

From Dillon State Park, take Dillon Hills Drive northwest for 1 mile. Continue straight onto Clay Littick Drive and go 0.6 miles. Turn left onto OH-146 west and drive 5.4 miles. The access to Dillon Wildlife Area off Pleasant Valley Road is from OH-146 just a few yards east of the Pleasant Valley Road intersection.

Dillon Wildlife Area is reliable for prothonotary warblers and red-headed woodpeckers in season. Late summer and early fall can be good for shorebirds, depending on rainfall. Wetlands can be good for waterfowl.

The center of Dillon Wildlife Area lies 10 miles northwest of Zanesville and 15 miles east of Newark along OH-146. The area lies along the Licking River and the upper portion of Dillon Reservoir. Dillon is a flood control reservoir and most of the land base is characterized by broad, terraced floodplains, which are frequently flooded during the late winter and spring. Included also are adjacent rolling hills that border the Licking River valley.

Over half of the area is woodland with bottomland hardwoods (species including the sycamore, willow, and cottonwood) comprising 65% of the woodland acres. Small acreages of mast-producing oaks and hickories occur on the slopes and ridges of the surrounding uplands.

Monroe Basin

Raiders Road Dresden, Ohio 43821

From Dillon Wildlife Area, drive east on OH-146 for 1.6 miles. Turn left onto OH-586 and drive 3 miles. Turn left to merge onto OH-16 east and drive 10.5 miles. From North Dresden Road on the right for the next 2 miles is Monroe Basin state land. In 1.5 mile watch for Basin Road on the right which circles Monroe Basin.

Monroe Basin is on the intermittent stream to the Muskingum River in Muskingum County, Ohio and is used for recreation purposes. At normal levels, it has a surface area of 17 acres. It is owned by Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division Of Wildlife.

Monroe Basin dam is of earthen construction. Its height is 14.3 feet with a length of 985 feet. Maximum discharge is 500 cubic feet per second. Its capacity is 112.3 acre-feet. Normal storage is 55 acre-feet. It drains an area of 0.06 square miles.

Wills Creek Lake (Muskingum Co.)

Coshocton, Ohio 43812

From Monroe Basin, drive east on OH-16 for 3.7 miles. Turn right onto Township Road 288 and go0 .2 miles. Turn left onto Township Road 483C and go 0.5 miles. Turn right onto Marquand Avenue and go 0.3 miles. Turn left onto First Street, Turn right onto Muskingam Avenue. Continue when Muskingam Avenue turns left and becomes County Road 273 and go 1.8 miles. Make a slight right onto County Road 271 and drive 1.1 miles. Continue straight onto County Road 274 and drive 1.9 miles. Turn left onto County Road 497 and go 0.2 miles. Arrive at Wills Creek Lake.

Wills Creek Lake is located in Adams and Monroe Townships, Muskingum County; as well as Linton Township, Coshocton County. Wills Creek Lake is owned and managed by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District for flood control and recreation. The lake is located approximately 15 miles south of Coshocton, off OH-83.

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District was organized in 1933 to address flooding in the Muskingum River drainage. The dam was completed in 1936 and is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dam impounds 375 acres of water with a shoreline length of 20.3 miles. The maximum depth is 12 feet. The area surrounding Wills Creek Lake includes rolling, forested hills and 2,830 acres of public land. Camping is not permitted.

Tri-Valley Wildlife Area

Dresden, Ohio 43821

From Wills Creek Lake, drive northwest on County Road 497 for 0.2 miles. Turn left onto County Road 274 for 0.1 mile and continue onto Ferncliff Road for 0.9 miles. Make a slight right onto Reiker Hill Road and drive 2 miles. Make a slight left onto Yeary Road and drive 1.2 miles. Turn right onto Edgemoor Road and go 0.8 miles. Turn right onto OH-208 west and drive 3.9 miles. Turn left onto Madison Hall Road and arrive at Tri-Valley Wildlife Area.

Madison Hall Road and Black Snake Road each have good habitat for summer grassland birds. Listen for singing Grasshopper and Henslow’s Sparrows during the breeding season.

Tri-Valley Wildlife Area is 16,200 acres in Muskingum County. A variety of wooded and successional habitats can be found in the southern portion of the area, but it is the reclamation of grasslands in the northern section that is of most interest to birders. This growing area makes it one of the best such places in Ohio.

Powelson Wildlife Area

Zanesville, Ohio 43701 ​ Also, see

From Tri-Valley Wildlife Area, drive west on OH-208 for 4.5 miles. Turn left onto Main Street and go 1.1 miles. Turn left onto Northpointe Drive and drive 2.9 miles. Enter the Powelson Wildlife Area and continue on Northpointe Drive for 1.2 miles. Turn left onto County Road 49. County Road 49, which runs east from OH-60, provides the best access to the heart of the area.

This 2,779-acre wildlife area lies between OH-60 and the Muskingum River, four miles north of Zanesville.

The topography includes gently rolling, reverting old fields and woodland. Seventy-six percent of the land is covered by woodland; of the total, 40 percent is in sawlog-size stands and 60 percent in pole-size stands. Brushland comprises 22 percent of the area. Less than one percent is open land.

Approximately one-fifth of the area has been affected by earlier strip mining, leaving the terrain in a rough condition. In the 1940s some of the spoil banks were planted with black locust and conifers which are now pole size.