Tar Hollow State Park and State Forest

Tar Hollow State Park and State Forest

Laurelville, Ohio 43135

Official Website
Tar Hollow State Park map
Tar Hollow State Forest website
Tar Hollow State Forest map

Tips for Birding

Tar Hollow State Forest is Ohio’s third largest state forest, at 16,120 acres. Although active logging operations are usually ongoing, the vast majority of the forest is wooded with a variety of forest communities. There is a network of 22 miles of hiking trails, primarily in the northern half of the forest. A total of 31 miles of forest roads, 17 paved and 14 gravel, make for easy access via automobile. Maps of roads and trails should be available from the headquarters, located on OH-327.

Tar Hollow State Park is located within the State Forest.

The State Forest is open year round, 6 am to 11 pm daily. There is camping at the State Park.

Parking generally not a problem anywhere, forest roads are lightly traveled and there is normally ample room to pull off.

Birds of Interest

All of our common winter woodland species, including good chances for half-hardy species like Eastern Phoebe and Hermit Thrush. Wild Turkey and Ruffed Grouse can often be found. Native stands of Virginia and Pitch pines often harbor winter irruptives such as Red-breasted Nuthatch and Pine Siskins, and Evening Grosbeaks and crossbills are sometimes recorded.
Good numbers and diversity of neotropical migrants.
A great diversity of woodland species, many of which require larger unfragmented forests, including Cerulean, Hooded, Kentucky, Black-and-white and Worm-eating warblers, Scarlet and Summer Tanagers, Wood Thrushes, and Broad-winged Hawks. Riparian areas harbor Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated Warblers, and Louisiana Waterthrushes. Pine stands often have Pine Warblers, and in 1973, Ohio’s only confirmed nesting record of Red Crossbill occurred here. All in all, summer birding for breeders can be fantastic.
Good numbers and diversity of neotropical migrants.

About this Location

The county lines of Ross, Hocking, and Vinton counties intersect in Tar Hollow. If you carefully keep your bird records by county, be aware of the location of the county lines and use the appropriate eBird hotspots when you submit checklists. (See the state park and forest maps for the location of the county lines.) The  State Park Campgrounds and Pine Lake are in Ross County. The campground office and the Homestead Trail are in Hocking County. Clark Hollow Road is in the Vinton County section of the state forest. The Logan Trail is mostly in Ross County but sections of this trail cross into Hocking and Vinton counties.

Twisting park and forest roads pass through 604 acres of deep ravines and dense woodlands. Scattered shortleaf and pitch pines growing on the ridges were once a source of pine tar for early settlers, hence the name Tar Hollow. Dogwoods, redbuds, and a variety of wildflowers color the hillsides in the springtime. Fall’s pageant of color is spectacular.

Tar Hollow State Forest originated from the Ross-Hocking Land Utilization project of the 1930s. The purpose of the program was to locate families on more productive land, thereby enabling them to better sustain a living. Following the termination of the project, the land was leased to the Division of Forestry and finally transferred to the State in 1958. Tar Hollow is Ohio’s third largest state forest, containing 16,120 acres.

A wealth of recreational activities are available at Tar Hollow State Forest. A 46-site primitive horse camp is located at the south end of the forest on Poe Run Road. Latrines are provided at the camp, but electricity and drinking water are not available. Radiating from the horse camp are 26 miles of bridle trails. All bridle trails are south of the fire tower.

A 22-mile network of hiking trails is located in the northern half of the forest.

Seventeen miles of paved forest roads and 14 miles of gravel forest roads provide a great opportunity for a scenic drive and allow good access to all areas of the forest.

Notable Trails

Tar Hollow State Forest Trails
Tar Hollow State Forest bridle trail map
Tar Hollow backpack trail map

Tar Hollow State Forest offers 22 miles of hiking trails through the wilds of Ohio’s third largest state forest.
Buckeye Trail (blue blazes)
Bridle Trail (white blazes)
Logan Trail (red blazes)
Homestead Trail (multi-use)
Ross Hollow Trail (yellow blazes)

Logan Trail
The best hike here is the Logan Trail, perfect for those intermediate hikers looking for something a bit more rugged. Set up to be a figure eight with double loops roughly eight miles each in length, this path stays largely in the beautiful forests and meets up with the Buckeye Trail.

Park at the Fire Tower on South Ridge Road. This is the center of the Logan Trail figure eight. For a 4.5-mile hike, go south on the Buckeye Trail. Follow the Buckeye Trail across Park Road 2 and continue until you reach the junction with the Logan Trail. Turn right (west) on the Logan Trail and follow it back to the Fire Tower.

There are a variety of circuit hikes you can take in this area using the Buckeye Trail and the Logan Trail loops.


  • Restrooms on site

Content from Official Website, Tar Hollow State Forest website, 6 Amazing Day Hikes on the Buckeye Trail, and Ohio Ornithological Society

Tar Hollow State Park
Tar Hollow State Forest