East Fork State Park

Clermont, Ohio, US


176 species

East Fork State Park

2837 Old OH-32 Batavia, Ohio 45103

Official Website
East Fork State Park map

Tips for Birding

The park office is located 12 miles east on OH-125 from I-275. Turn north on Bantam Road and follow the signs to the park entrance. The north entrance to the park from I-275 is via OH-32 east and is approximately 14 miles. Turn south on Half Acre Road then east to the park entrance.

The park is open year-round, but the park office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. During the summer months, park personnel will also be available during special events.

Parking Areas: On the south side of the lake, the parking is more than adequate. The north side of the park has very limited parking areas. The campsite is closed to the general public during the camping season. Do not park on the side of the roads or in the grass as you will be ticketed by the park police.

The Army Corps of Engineers visitor’s center is located on Slade Road, on the west side of the park. To get to Slade Road, turn north on OH-222 off of OH-125. Slade road is approximately .75 of a mile north. This area overlooks the lake and a side road leads to the base of the dam. There are restrooms inside the visitor’s center and at the foot of the dam.

If time permits, there are two areas of the park accessible to birders that are located at the east end of Williamsburg-Bantam Road (refer to park map). Park your car on the side of the turn-around. Go around the large gate and you will find that you are on an old road that runs beside the old forest. This road comes out at the lake approximately a mile from the gate. Another road similar to this one leads east and can be accessed from the same turn-around. It also terminates at the lake. These two trails are not shown on the park map.

Also, see Cincinnati Audubon website

Birds of Interest

This may be one of the best places in Southwest Ohio to see Red-shouldered Hawks; large numbers of waterfowl gather on the lake, if not disturbed by boaters. Early morning is the best time to view birds from the swimming beach. Western Grebe, Horned Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Long-tailed Duck, and Little Gull were all seen from the south beach (swimming beach) on January 20, 1999. All seven species of Ohio woodpeckers as well as three species of owls can be seen here during the winter months.
Good numbers of warbler species pass through the park in spring. A large population of Wild Turkey breeds here. Woodcock and Whip-poor-will can be seen on the north side of the park.
Both species of orioles nest in the park as well as Yellow-billed Cuckoo and three vireo species.
Thirteen species of sparrows have been sighted in this season. Osprey and Bald Eagles have also been sighted. Large numbers of Ring-billed Gulls begin to gather on the lake during late fall and into the winter months.

About this Location

Clermont County’s rolling hills and meandering river valleys provide a colorful backdrop for spacious East Fork State Park. Shaped by the forces of the Illinoian and Wisconsinan glaciers, the East Fork region is characterized by beautiful hill country scenery and is noted for the occurrence of remnant prairie habitats. Illinoian glacial deposits are not common in Ohio but can be observed at East Fork and the surrounding area.

East Fork’s diverse landscape includes dry-forested hills, rocky cascades, abandoned farmlands, thickly grown floodplains, marshy grasslands, and swamp forests. This diversity lends well to an abundance of plant and animal life. Woodlands are composed of beech, sugar maple, red and white oak, shagbark hickory, and wild black cherry. The swamp forests contain silver maple, American elm, sycamore, and black gum. The meadows and remnant prairies contain big bluestem grass and purple coneflower among others.

Animals of the area include eastern plains garter snake, fence lizard, red fox, deer, raccoon, Canada geese, song sparrow, eastern meadowlark, and the barn swallow.

Restrooms are closed from late November to early May on the south side. The north side has open restrooms all season (no heat).

Notable Trails

East Fork Lake Trails
Greenbriar Road
This hike is 2 miles round trip. Please use the “East Fork Lake SP–Greenbriar Rd. Area” hotspot for bird checklists on this hike.

Park in the parking area on the south side of Greenbriar Road, just west Greenbriar Cemetery and Fawn Lane. A paved road, gated for hiking, biking, and horses — no motor vehicles — goes south from there. From this gate on, it is part of East Fork State Park. The main road goes clear to the water control tower on the north side of the lake. A side trail (unpaved) goes to the right (west) and will eventually hit the dead-end turn around loop at the end of Slade Road. It is marked with green paint blazes for the horseback riders. We walked the paved road till the right hand turn-off. It was along this path, part of the Steven Newman Perimeter Trail, that we heard and saw Worm-eating Warbler and Wood Thrush. There are steep banks that fall away from the trail, one on the left hand side as we walked out, and another on the right further along where we first found Worm-eating Warblers.

Backpack Trail
From the Elklick Mound, the Backpack Trail goes east for 8 miles. It is about 2 miles to the Efsp Trail, making a 4 mile out and back hike. It is about 4 miles to the Backpack Camp, making an 8 mile out and back hike. Please use the “East Fork SP–South Side” hotspot for bird checklists on this hike.

East Fork offers approximately 46 miles of backcountry trail as well as the 16-mile Backpack Trail and 32-mile Perimeter Trail. Parking and the trailhead are located at the south access parking lot near the park entrance. Access and parking on the north side of the Perimeter Trail are available at the campground visitor parking lot.
Backpack Trail – 16 miles -moderate
Cedar Trail Loop – 0.4 miles -easy
Deer Ridge – 0.5 miles – moderate
Fern Hill Trail – 1.4 miles – moderate
Prairie Trail – 0.5 miles – easy
Steven Newman Worldwalker Perimeter Trail – 32 miles – moderate
Tailwater Trail – 2 miles – easy
Whippoorwill Trail – 0.5 miles – easy
Cascade Trail – 3 miles – moderate
Pin Oak Trail – 3 miles – easy
Twin Bridges Bridle Trail – 9 miles -moderate
Mountain Bike Trails – 9.6 miles – moderate to advanced

The Buckeye Trail at East Fork State Park
The Buckeye Trail circles East Fork Lake using the 37-mile Steve Newman Perimeter Trail. Ohioan Steve Newman hiked around the world, and this trail is where is worldwide circumference came to an end. While you don’t need to walk the whole thing, you should at least check out the Twin Bridges Bridle Trail on the north side of the lake. At nine miles in length, this intermediate-level hike leads through a forest and along the lake. It never gets too crowded as numerous options of smaller trail sections give plenty of room for everyone.


  • Restrooms on site

Content from Official Website, Kathi Hutton, Tony Dornbusch, 6 Amazing Day Hikes on the Buckeye Trail, and Ohio Ornithological Society