Wayne National Forest

Tips for Birding

The Ironton District on the Wayne National Forest is rich in bird life and far less visited by birders than the nearby Shawnee State Forest. Species like Black-billed Cuckoo and Summer Tanager and the array of southern warblers are more easily found there. Cerulean Warbler hotspots are scattered throughout the area. Ample road-birding along low-traffic rural and forest roads will reward blind exploration of the area (purchase or download a forest map and take along a Delorme Atlas). There are access points to trails scattered throughout the area. These offer short or long walks (some trails can be rough and hilly). Like many rural areas, parking can be problematic, some pull-offs are muddy, etc. Pine Creek Road (west from OH-93) is hardtop and traverses varied habitats supporting bird diversity. Excellent services are available at managed locations like Vesuvius Furnace. On your way there, be sure to travel south on OH-93 through Olive Furnace, check out the stone arch iron furnace remnant west of OH-93 as you drive by. The area is rich in history as it is rich in biodiversity. Check out the Forest Service website for lots of information and check in with friendly Forest Service staff for more detailed information (office located in Pedro). Go explore!

On the way south, stop in at Cooper Hollow Wildlife Area and Pyro Wetlands (both eBird Hotspots), and drive through open areas of nearby reclaimed strip mines to add a lot of grasslands diversity to your list, south of Jackson, OH, east of OH-93. From there, west of OH-93, a long convoluted drive (Clay Banner Road) will take you to Baker Swamp, a Nature Conservancy Preserve, and nearby hayfields and shrub rows that used to be reliable places of Northern Bobwhite.

Also, see  Wayne National Forest wildlife driving tours brochure

About this Location

The Wayne National Forest is located in the hills of southeastern Ohio. This small national forest, in the heart of the heavily populated Midwest, covers almost a quarter million acres of Appalachian foothills. The Wayne is divided into three blocks administered by two Ranger Districts at Athens and Ironton. A field office is also located east of Marietta.

Visitors to national forest lands are welcome to camp, hike, hunt, and fish. The Forest boundaries surround a checkerboard pattern of ownership, with public and private ownership interspersed. There are over 300 miles of trails in the Forest for hiking, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding, mountain biking, or horseback riding.
From Wayne National Forest website