Ottawa NWR--Wildlife Drive (Lucas Co.)

Tips for Birding

Please be safe. It is never safe to stop your car on OH-2 in this area. State and local police ticket drivers pulled over to the side of this highway.

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge spans two counties. The northern part of the refuge is in Lucas County and the southern part is in Ottawa County.

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.

About this Location

Reporting Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Drive Bird Checklists on eBird
Ottawa NWR--Wildlife Drive (Lucas Co.)
Ottawa NWR--Wildlife Drive (Ottawa Co.)

If you wish to report your bird sightings to eBird from the Wildlife Drive at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, there are two eBird Hotspots to receive your reports. The south portion of the Wildlife Drive is in Ottawa County, the north portion is in Lucas County. You are on the county line when the Wildlife Drive turns right (east) on Ottawa-Lucas Road.

Please, keep two checklists of birds you see, one for each portion of the Wildlife Drive. The section in Ottawa County is about 2.4 miles; the section in Lucas County is 3 or more miles. eBird sorts your bird sightings by county, thus two “hotspots” to report your sightings. Sometimes the route of the Wildlife Drive varies, so you might want to set your odometer to record the actual miles you cover for each section.

Drive through seven miles of the refuge that are normally closed to the public. Gates open at 8:00 am and the entrance gate closes at 4 pm. Wildlife Drive entrance is off the Visitor Center Parking Lot. Pick up a printed guide at the entrance for information on refuge management and recent sightings.

Depending on the season, more of the roads within the refuge may be open. The Wildlife Drive is open on selected weekends throughout the year and all days during the Biggest West in American Birding. The schedule for opening the Wildlife Drive is weather dependent.

About Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

See all hotspots at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge provides valuable habitat for a diversity of waterfowl and other migratory birds, resident wildlife, and endangered and threatened species. It provides a place for people to enjoy wildlife-dependent activities and learn about the complexities of the natural world through education and interpretive programming.

Ottawa Refuge is located in northwest Ohio. The entrance is located 15 miles east of Toledo, Ohio, or 16 miles west of Port Clinton, Ohio on OH-2. The entrance road is located on the north side of OH-2.

Visitors should stop at the visitor center which opened in 2007. This beautiful lodge-style building welcomes you and tells the refuge story. The building is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

There are ten miles of hiking trails. These trails travel through a variety of habitats and start behind the visitor center or from the trailhead parking lot.

The refuge wildlife drive is open on scheduled days from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The wildlife drive allows vehicles to travel through areas of the refuge not otherwise open to the general public. See the calendar of events for open dates.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Roadside viewing

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge website, Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge webpage, and Ohio Ornithological Society