Athens, OH Atv Trails and Maps

213 Reviews

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Recent Trail Reviews

Pickaway Trail

Recent Paving Has Improved the Trail But More Work Needs to be Done

September, 2021 by orangedoug

I rode 3.3 out-and-back miles on the Pickaway Trail near Circleville, Ohio on August 26th. This rail trail currently is listed at 2.5 miles in length but not all of it is paved. I started at the Canal Road trailhead and headed west. When I reached Ohio-104 the paved trail ended but a sign on the other side of the road stated that the trail beyond this point was under development. It looked like a gravel driveway so I decided to cross and check out the current level of development. Well, the driveway turned out to be exactly that and as it curved to the right it became obvious that the grassy opening straight ahead was what was the undeveloped trail. The trail map on shows the trail continuing westward until it reaches Sisk Road. While I was curious what more I would find if I continued, the sound of thunder told me to call it quits and get back to the car. The paved trail appears to be brand new — a very smooth ride. The trail is arrow-straight throughout its current length. The trail runs through corn and soybean fields and is tree lined in parts and wide open when running through the farm fields. My one complaint has to do with the positioning of the bollards to keep motorized vehicles off of the trail. I feel that the spacing between posts is a bit narrow and could be hazardous to cyclists who may not be paying attention.

Roundtown Trail

A Nice Exercise Trail

September, 2021 by orangedoug

I rode a quick out-and-back ride on the 1.5 mile long Roundtown Trail in Circleville, Ohio back in August of this year. The primary purpose of this trail seems to be to connect the Pickaway County YMCA to both the Circleville City Schools campus (high school, middle school, and elementary school) and the campus of Ohio Christian University. Both ends of the trail have a picnic pavilion. This is a paved trail that is in excellent shape. I think local residents would find this trail excellent for exercise purposes such as walking, jogging or cycling, but unless Circleville plans on expanding the trail or connecting it to the nearby Pickaway Trail; it is not one to seek out if you are not from the area.

Fairfield Heritage Trail

A Community Trail That Needs a Bit of a Makeover

September, 2021 by orangedoug

Back in August, I rode almost 19 miles on an out-and back on the Fairfield Heritage Trail in Lancaster, Ohio. This trail connects many of this citizens to the town’s parks, Ohio University-Lancaster, Lancaster High School and River Valley Mall. The crescent shaped trail encircles about 3/4 of the city. It would be interesting to see the city/county make the trail an actual loop by connecting the OU-Lancaster and Ety Pointe Drive ends of this trail. The trail utilizes a lot of greenway space by running along the Hocking River or its small tributaries. However, there are a few sections where streets with bike lanes or sharrows are used to connect some of the off-road parts of the trail.

There is a section that is an old railroad right of way so I guess the trail qualifies as a rail trail. This section runs between Cenci Lake Park and Olivedale Park. If you look at an aerial view of Lancaster on Google Maps you can see that this abandoned rail line (the Cincinnati & Muskingum Valley Railroad) runs west and could conceivably be developed to connect to the towns and cities of Amanda, Stoutsville and Circleville. However, at present, I don't know if there is much of a will to do so.

There were quite a few people either riding, jogging or walking on the trail during the Thursday morning I chose to ride. Thus, the trail seems to be popular with the citizens of Lancaster. I found the trail to be in good to fair shape with quite a bit of tree root uplifting. In some areas potholes are starting to form and in other places the edge of the trail along the Hocking River and small streams is starting to crumble and slip toward the water. These sections could use some repair. I want to recommend this trail to people from outside of the city, but at present, I can't give this trail my whole-hearted support until its upkeep issues are addressed. This is a nice community trail but it could use a bit of a makeover in a number of places throughout the city.


Hockhocking Adena Bikeway

Beautiful roller skating path

August, 2021 by pyj6qjh77m

I roller skated from Nelsonville to Athens on a hot and muggy August Saturday morning. The tree canopy kept me cooler for the majority of the ride. However, it also provided many obstacles on the path. Twigs, branches, leaves, wet leaves, and wet moss made for a tricky skate at some points. If this path is dry and clear, it’s is a perfect long quad skate. Bridges are concrete so no issues with them. Glad I found it on my trip to Hocking Hills.

North Bend Rail Trail

8/1-2/21 rides

August, 2021 by paulz

I rode this trail out of North Bend State Park North to Pennsboro. It was about 11 miles each way. The next day I rode to Petroleum from North Bend State Park. The area is very nice. I saw a lot of deer on my morning ride south to Petroleum. Petroleum had a nice rest stop with bike work stand, restroom and shelter. It happened to be on a road and in someone's front yard. I went thru the "haunted" tunnel. fairly long, one could not see. Either bring a light or walk. I walked and I still went into a wall.
Cairo was in sad shape. The town needs revitalization. Services will be spotty.
Pennsboro has services but it was a Sunday and almost everything was closed. Horse droppings was prevalent going east. It would be a mess on a wet day. Went thru 4 tunnels, it was nice to break the trail monotony.
The trail is in generally in poor quality. Maintenance is done by putting down 1-2 inch gray stone rock as fill. Too bad the people responsible for the trail do not see how other trails across the country are kept. The Pumpkinvine trail in Indiana accepts donations online. There is a fiberoptic underground line being put in along the trail. I hope royalties help with trail maintenance. A town like Cairo could use some business from trail users. A better trail would bring people.
North Bend State Park is a very nice campground. It is very convenient to the Trail. It has showers and flush toilets.

North Bend Rail Trail

Less used trail, easy grades

August, 2021 by jkhiser

We rode 6 miles in from west end, 5 miles each way from park connector - did not hit any trail closures. They are working on fibre optic, but we able to get around the minor digging where they are pushing the cable.

Tunnels were dark and covered in slick mud - we ended up walking the three east from the park connector.

This is no place for skinny road tires - gonna need fat ones for the mud, dirt, and gravel/ballast.

Riverbend campground is ideal spot to camp and have direct trail access.

Old Town Creek Trail

More a Hiking Trail Than a Bikeway

August, 2021 by orangedoug

The Old Town Creek Trail is one of those trails where you question why it was included on the website. It is a short, 1 mile long unimproved trail that doesn’t really go anywhere.

The trail consists of three different connected sections that run from the Hocking County Fairgrounds to Aqueduct Park. Aqueduct Park is a small park that commemorates a stone arch that used to support an Ohio-Erie Canal aqueduct over Old Town Creek. The arch is not marked and you have to go down a residential driveway next to the park’s parking lot to view it. As to the three sections each has its own type of surface. First up is the fairground section. I call it that because it appears to have been an old access road to the Hocking County Fairgrounds that is no longer useful in that capacity. The road surface consists mostly of gravel that is starting to be covered by grass. To reach this section of the trail from the fairgrounds you have to cross an old railroad (?) bridge over Old Town Creek. Once over the bridge you enter Old Town Creek Nature Preserve that apparently was created when the trail was created. The trail here has a few short hills that shouldn’t give any adult difficulties but young biking children might find it a bit challenging. This fairground section ends when you reach Front Street.

The Front Street section of the trail is an asphalt bike path that starts on the other side of Front Street and runs parallel and separate from the road. This .2 mile path takes you to the parking lot for Aqueduct Park. To actually view the remnants of the aqueduct you have to travel down a residential driveway that is adjacent to the park’s parking lot. However, the land around the aqueduct’s remaining stone arch has been graded in such a way that you really don’t know that it is anything other than a culvert that allows Old Town Creek to flow under Front Street. There is no marker right at the arch to indicate its historical significance. A sign is found by the park’s parking lot.

The final section of trail lies within Aqueduct Park and is a grassy ballast surface as it picks up an old railroad grade which heads south through the park and ends abruptly along the creek at an active railroad line.

At present, this trail appears to be primarily a hiking trail that connects Aqueduct Park with the Old Town Nature Preserve. This short trail is not one to go out of your way to visit unless you live near the city of Logan.

Hockhocking Adena Bikeway

The Premier Rail Trail in Southeast Ohio

August, 2021 by orangedoug

Last month, during my 3 day trip to explore a number of southern Ohio trails I had the pleasure of riding the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway. This 20.8 mile rail trail runs from the eastside of Athens to the center of Nelsonville, Ohio. I can easily say that this trail is the crown jewel of the bike trails in southeast Ohio. It is understandable that those people and entities working to complete the Moonville and Athens-Belpre Rail Trails are anxious to have their trails connected to the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway. The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway runs from County Road 24A east of Athens to the parking lot of the Rocky Outdoor Gear Store off of Myers Street in Nelsonville. During your ride you will pass through the Ohio University campus, and pass by the Ohio Health O’Bleness Hospital, the Eclipse Company Store Restaurant, the Bluebell Nature Preserve, the Tri-County Career Center, and ride through the Hocking College campus. When you arrive in Nelsonville make sure you check out the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad Depot and the town’s historic district as well.

The trail generally follows the course of the Hocking River between Athens and Nelsonville. It is a mixture of shaded river woodlands and sun-drenched farmlands and college campuses. On this particular 90 degree day, when I was in the sun it was quite hot, but when riding in the shade of the woods it was fairly comfortable. There are a few trailheads along the route where water and bathrooms are available, but they are spaced out quite a bit so I suggest having plenty of water on hot days.
North of the Eclipse Company Store in The Plains there is not much in the way of amenities until you reach Hocking College outside of Nelsonville. You ride along mostly shaded nature preserves and more open farmland. There are three craft breweries in Athens: Jackie O’s Taproom, Devil’s Kettle Brewing and Little Fish Brewing Co. all which are adjacent to the bikeway. The Eclipse Company Store Craft Beer Hall in The Plains has local brews and great barbeque. If you are so inclined, seek out Multiple Brewing while in Nelsonville.

The bikeway is paved, and other than a mile of tree root uplift just north of the Eclipse Company Store in The Plains, is in very good condition. There were quite a few people out either walking, jogging, or riding the trail throughout its entire length, but the trail never seemed crowded. However, I can’t say how busy the Ohio University section of the bikeway would be when the Fall and Spring semesters are in session. Though I rode this trail in July heat, I’m certain that this trail would be absolutely spectacular during the Fall with the trees in their autumn colors. This trail is definitely one to seek out.

Buckeye Scenic Trail

Easy trail near suburbia

August, 2021 by themarkparker

There is no parking at the north trailhead itself, but there are parking lots for some businesses very close.

Athens-Belpre Rail Trail

A Bold Trail Plan That Still Has to Acquire Much of the Right-of-Way Before It Becomes Anything More Than a Hiking Trail

August, 2021 by orangedoug

The Athens-Belpre Rail Trail (ABRT) is an ambitious project that would connect the cities of Athens and Belpre, Ohio. Athens is home of Ohio University and the county seat of Athens County. Belpre is a city located on the Ohio River across from Parkersburg, West Virginia. If the Athens-Belpre Rail Trail is completed into Belpre, then a bridge connection over the Ohio River into Parkersburg could connect with the 72 mile long North Bend Trail which is planned to eventually connect with the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) somewhere near Pittsburgh. The ABRT would end up being somewhere around 40 miles in length when completed and would connect to the Hockhocking-Adena Bikeway in Athens.

Currently, there are three unconnected segments of trail located somewhat in the middle of what would be the completed trail. Together they total around 9.3 miles of trail. Since the trail is currently in the land acquisition phase, little has been done in terms of improving the current conditions of the acquired railroad right-of-way. This former B & O rail corridor also is the same right-of-way that the Moonville Rail Trail is based on.

When I checked out these 3 trail segments I started with the easternmost segment that the Athens-Belpre Rail Trail Steering Committee lists on their website. This is called the Ellis Road segment. It runs 1.7 miles from Ellis Road in the village of Torch, Ohio to the Athens-Washington County line on Township Road 297 near the Little Hocking Church of Christ. I started at Ellis Road but unfortunately was only able to complete .35 miles on an out-and-back ride on this grass-covered segment. When I reached the culvert “tunnel” that the trail uses to pass under the US-50/OH-32/OH-7 freeway, it was so full of soft mud it was literally impassable. So much for reaching the county line.

The second trail segment is named Torch West on the Athens-Belpre Rail Trail website. It starts on North Torch Road and heads west from there. There is a gap of about .4 miles between the Ellis Road trailhead and the start of the Torch West segment which is currently held in private hands. Of the three ABRT trail segments I rode, this one was the most scenic. The trail surface here was also grass-covered and soft in a number of spots but passable. As you ride this 1.6 mile segment you are quickly surrounded by trees and feel as though you are the only one around for miles and miles. You pass through a couple of hillside cuts until you reach a missing bridge over Skunk Run and must stop.

The westernmost of the three current ABRT segments is named the Frost Road segment as it parallels Frost Road (Athens County Rd 58) for most of its length. The trail surface of this segment was the best of the three as it consisted of 2 wheel tracks from cars using this segment as a Flood Emergency Route when the nearby Hocking River floods and closes Frost Road. This does not mean that this segment was a smooth ride. There were quite a few puddles in potholes and the trees and brush narrowed the trail significantly in spots. I traveled about 2.1 miles on this 6 mile segment before turning around. The trail surface was beginning to get pretty soft and I didn’t want to work harder to complete the last 2.5 miles (and back to my turn around point) after having spent all day in mid-90 degree heat.

The Athens-Belpre Rail Trail will be an achievement when it is completed. There is regional interest in creating this trail with several groups such as the Athens Conservancy 501(c)(3) land trust, The Belpre Multi-Use Trail Committee, and private and corporate donors working to acquire more of this 40 mile rail corridor. From what I can see, little will be done to improve the condition of the acquired trail segments until most of the route has been acquired. Therefore, I would suggest that this trail should be viewed as a hiking trail for the foreseeable future. If you are interested in biking what presently exists of this trail, wide-tired bikes are a must. Even when the entire right-of-way is purchased much work will need to be done to make this trail bikeable. The trail surface will need to be regraded and improved, drainage problem spots addressed, and numerous bridges repaired, replaced, or created. In fact, there are at least 6 crossings of the Hocking River where currently no bridge exists and each would be a major construction project. Perhaps if the Biden Administration can pass an infrastructure bill then funds might be available to speed up the development of this trail. At its current pace of development, however, it will be quite some time before anyone is riding a bike on a trail between Athens and Belpre, Ohio.

Moonville Rail Trail

Federal Mine Safety Funds Are Leading to Much Needed Trail Improvements

August, 2021 by orangedoug

Last month I rode 10.2 miles on an out-and-back ride on the Moonville Trail starting in the Athens County hamlet of Mineral and riding west toward the town of Zaleski, Ohio. I made it about 2/3rds of the way to Zaleski, but once the trail surface changed to grass covered railway ballast I decided to turn around because I don’t think I could have withstood riding an additional four teeth-rattling miles.

The trail is currently being upgraded due to the federal government wanting to seal a bunch of old abandoned mines in the hills surrounding this old railway. According to workers I met repairing a pair of trail bridges, funds were granted to Vinton County to create the needed infrastructure to enable the equipment needed to seal these old mines to safely reach them. This means that all the bridges along the trail are being upgraded or replaced in order to carry trucks, other power equipment, and supplies needed to seal those old mines. The surface of the trail has had a crushed stone/dirt mix spread over the old railroad ballast surface up to the point where I turned around.

The trail is quite isolated so make sure you have plenty of water, a spare inner tube, and some repair tools. Most of the trail is shaded as it passes through Ohio's Zaleski State Forest. You will also pass by quite a few lakes and marshes as well as cross over the meandering, deep, and slow-moving Raccoon Creek numerous times. Bug repellant would be a good addition to have with you at certain times of the day and year. There certainly seems to be plenty of opportunity to see lots of wildlife, though current construction on the trail may have animals avoiding the trail during typical working hours.

Like several of the other trails in southern Ohio, the Moonville Rail Trail has tremendous potential, but is not yet ready to shine. I’ll have to come back in a few years when the work is done to give an updated review.

Wellston Bike Path

Trail Links Wellston, Ohio to the Nearby State Park

August, 2021 by orangedoug

I rode 5.66 miles on an out-and-back ride on the 1.78 mile long Wellston Bike Path in Wellston, Ohio. The additional milage came from riding the all-purpose trail in Lake Alma State Park just outside of town. This paved rail trail runs from Wellston Depot (train station) up to the state park. That seems to be the trail's only purpose. It's definitely useful to the local citizenry and keeps cyclists and pedestrians off of OH-349. The trail surface is in good shape except for a small section between the rail bridge over Raccoon Creek and the entrance to Lake Alma State Park where some erosional slippage has occurred. The state park's all purpose trail expands the bike path's reach and utility by giving access to the Lake Alma's campground, beach, hiking trails and picnic facilities. It is a pretty little trail but I’m not sure that you can expect any expansion of the trail anytime in the foreseeable future as it appears that other abandoned rail lines around the town have been converted into local roadways. If you are in the Wellston area it is trail well worth checking out. However, due to its short length I don’t think that there is enough reward to take an extended drive just to check this trail off of your list.

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