Stephens State Forest--Lucas Unit

Stephens State Forest--Lucas Unit

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Birds of Interest

Nesting species include Pileated Woodpecker, Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks, both tanagers, and Kentucky Warblers. Ovenbirds, cuckoos, and Wood Thrush will be heard during the breeding season. Chuck-wills-widow has been sporadically recorded here.

About this Location

Important Bird Area.
The Lucas unit of Stephens State Forest is not only easily accessible but can provide for some fun birding. There are several forest trails in this 1267 acre unit, though they are minimally maintained. Birding along the roads and in the picnic and camping areas can be very productive. The whole unit can be effectively sampled in a couple of hours. Primarily upland mature oak forest. This is a public hunting area.

In western Lucas Co. Just west outside of Lucas, the entrance is on the south side of U.S. 34 less than one half mile west of its intersection with U.S. 65, marked 137 TR. The forest road is indicated with a brown sign when traveling westbound, but this sign is not visible when traveling eastbound. After crossing a wooden bridge of questionable merit over the railroad tracks, travel straight on for less than a mile to the forest entrance. A signed left turn leads to a birdy pond with an adjacent picnic and camping area about a mile east of this intersection. Traveling straight will lead past two small picnic/camping areas until exiting the forest at the south end.

About Stephens Forest Bird Conservation Area

See all hotspots at Stephens Forest Bird Conservation Area

Ruffed-grouse population established; Chuck-will's-widow, Kentucky Warbler, and Veery nesting. In addition, Cooper's Hawk, American Woodcock, Barred Owl, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-winged Warbler, Ovenbird, and Field Sparrow nest here.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Roadside viewing

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Iowa Ornithologists' Union and Stephens Forest BCA

Last updated September 20, 2023

Lucas Unit Trail Map
Iowa DNR