Pleasant Hill Lake Dam

Tips for Birding

From Butler take OH-97 east to McCurdy Road. Continue north on McCurdy until turning right onto Good Road, which has a sign at this intersection, to the Mohican State Park Lodge. Continue on Goon Road (do not take the drive to the lodge) as it winds around the hills, until it comes out at the dam. Probably the best attribute about this location is the spectacular view of the Mohican Gorge and Pleasant Hill Lake.

About Pleasant Hill Lake

See all hotspots at Pleasant Hill Lake

The western section of Pleasant Hill Lake is in Richland County. The eastern section of Pleasant Hill Lake is in Ashland County. If you carefully keep your bird records by county, be aware of the location of the county line and use the appropriate eBird hotspots when you submit checklists. (See the map for the location of the county line.)

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) owns Pleasant Hill Lake. The lake was constructed in 1938 by damming the Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River. The lake was originally constructed primarily for flood control in the Muskingum River watershed. Today, recreation is one of the biggest public benefits. The ODNR Division of Wildlife manages the lake under an agreement to provide public fishing and hunting.

The Clear Fork River empties into the western end of the lake. This western end of the lake is shallow with most of the area under less than 10 feet of water. The middle section of the lake gradually slopes to a depth of 20 feet. At that point, the lake makes a sharp bend to the south, and the basin changes to a steep-sided, deep, gorge shape with a maximum depth of 35 feet.

The portion of the lake that runs from west to east is shallower and warmer. The bottom of that part of the lake is composed of mud (clay and silt), except along the shorelines where wave action has exposed sand and small gravel. The lower portion of the lake, running north to the south, is deeper, slightly cooler, and has larger boulders along the shoreline. Vegetation is confined to the shoreline of the western end of the impoundment and is controlled by water clarity. The transparency of the water varies from about 6 inches in the springtime to 4 feet later in the season, when the sediment has settled.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

  • Roadside viewing

Content from Ohio Ornithological Society

Last updated June 6, 2023