Wayne National Forest--Utah Ridge

Birds of Interest

I think it is the best place in Athens County to see migrating warblers. Species that nest there are Ovenbird, Yellow-breasted Chat (near the storage tank), Prairie Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Hooded Warbler, and Black and White Warbler. Red-headed Woodpeckers, which are infrequent in this part of the state, have been seen at the top of the first hill south of the tank, where there are a lot of standing dead trees.

About this Location

The stretch of road I bird on is .6 mile long, stretching from New Floodwood Road north to a gas storage tank. It includes recently logged areas and relatively mature forest. There is an easy place to pull off on the short access road to the storage tank, but Utah Ridge Road is a wide gravel road that has so little traffic (one to two cars per hour) that you can pull to the side almost anywhere.

The easiest way to get there is to take US-33 to the Fun Barn, a movie theater complex a few miles southeast of Nelsonville. Turn onto New Floodwood Road (Township Road 294), which intersects the highway opposite the entrance to the Fun Barn. Follow New Floodwood Road 1.3 miles to its end on Utah Ridge Road (Township Road 295). Turn left on Utah Ridge Road, and either park near there on the roadside or drive .6 mile to the tank to park. Please do not use Coal Run Road (the name of Township Road 295 south of New Floodwood Road) to access the birding area. Much of this road is poorly maintained and subject to big mudholes. I almost got stuck there trying to take a “short cut” back to Athens.

About Wayne National Forest

See all hotspots at Wayne National Forest

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.


  • Roadside viewing

Content from Philip Cantino and Wayne National Forest website