The Wilderness Center

The Wilderness Center

9877 Alabama Avenue Southwest Wilmont, Ohio 44689

The Wilderness Center website
The Wilderness Center trail map

Tips for Birding

The Wilderness Center is a self-funding, nonprofit organization, founded in 1964, dedicated to nature education, conservation, natural history research, and community service, teaching 20,000 school children yearly. It consists of 1,637 acres in 6 counties, the main tract in Stark. Boundary roads: US-250 on the south (pavement), Alabama Ave. (gravel) to the east. The parking lot is paved. The six trails are well-marked: Pond Trail 1.25 miles, Belden-Blake Wilderness Trail (has a Prairie Loop) 1.25 miles, Secrist Woods 0.75 miles, Sugar Creek 1 mile, Fox Creek 0.75 miles, Pioneer Path (has a Prairie Loop) 1.75 miles. No horses, dogs, or bicycles are allowed on the trails.

A variety of habitats, woods, ponds, creeks, deciduous and evergreen woods, fields, marsh and prairies, and farmlands, attracts a large number of bird species, including nesting Great-horned and Barred Owls, American Woodcocks, Kentucky Warblers, Cooper’s and Red-tailed Hawks, as well as the usual birds found nesting in Ohio. A recent banding workshop captured a chickadee that has been at the Center for 7 years. A TWC bird list is available at the bookstore.

The Wilderness Center also features a bird viewing room, a children’s room, meeting rooms, and a bookstore/gift shop. Special programs and classes are offered. There are many clubs at the center: Birding, Botanizers, Astronomy, Nature Photographers, Cavers and Climbers, Backpackers and Day Hikers, Geology, Storytellers, Fly Fishers, Woodcarvers, and Artistic Endeavors. Something for everyone. TWC has been designated an IBA (Important Bird Area) in Ohio. Visitors are always welcome; just walk in.

Open year-round Monday through Saturday 9 to 5, Sunday 1 to 5. Closed Monday.

A large, multilevel paved parking lot at the Nature Center, gravel lots at Sugar Creek/Fox Creek Trailhead, and Pioneer Path.

There is free usage of the trails, viewing room, and bookstore. Memberships are available.

Birds of Interest

Eastern Towhee, White-crowned Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Cardinal, Mallard, Canada Goose, Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Blue Jay, Red-bellied Woodpecker.
Wood Duck, Ring-necked Duck, American Wigeon, Bufflehead, Pied-billed Grebe, American Robin, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Woodcock, Fox Sparrow, Downy Woodpecker, Field Sparrow. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Tree Swallow, Eastern Phoebe, Barn Swallow, Great Blue Heron, Chimney Swift, Northern Flicker, Black-throated Green Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat.
Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Acadian Flycatcher, Black-capped Chickadee, Carolina Chickadee, Pileated Woodpecker, Cooper’s Hawk, Barred Owl, Mourning Dove, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Chipping Sparrow, Warbling Vireo, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Warble.
Gray Catbird, Belted Kingfisher, Cedar Waxwing, American Black Duck, Wild Turkey, Turkey Vulture, House Wren, Gadwall, Hairy Woodpecker, Eastern Towhee, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Kinglet, American Coot, Blue-winged Teal, Red-tailed Hawk.

About this Location

The Wilderness Center, 619 acres, has six trails with several connecting routes. On the trails, you can see old-growth forests, meadows, prairie, wetlands, Fox and Sugar Creeks, Wilderness Lake, and a pond. You can wander through nature for hours. The Headquarters include the Center’s Interpretive Building, Astronomy Education Building, Picnic Shelters, Viewing Tower, and much more.

Restrooms on site. One entered from the outside near the back of the nature center, inside facilities are on the second floor and handicapped-accessible by elevator.

Notable Trails

The Wilderness Center Trails
Pond Trail – 1.25 miles
Sigrist Woods Trail – 0.75 miles
Fox Creek Trail – 0.75 miles
Sugar Creek Trail – 1 mile
Belden and Blake Wilderness Walk – 1.5 miles
Pioneer Path – 1.75 miles

Pond Trail
The Pond Trail, 1.25 miles, may be accessed south of the parking lot for the Interpretive Center. In the summer, there are nesting warblers, flycatchers, nesting Eastern Phoebes, an occasional Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Bluebirds, swallows, and the usual species (there are two ponds on this walk). For a longer hike, you can take any of the other trails. The Fox Creek Trail and Sugar Creek Trail can be good during migration.

The Wilderness Walk can be combined with the Pioneer Path to make a long hike.


  • Restrooms on site

Content from The Wilderness Center website and Ohio Ornithological Society