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The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway is one of southeast Ohio’s hidden trail gems. Tucked into the foothills of Appalachia, this 20-mile trail gives a sampling of the best the Buckeye State has to offer: from college town amenities and atmosphere to scenic natural features and idyllic Midwest farmland.
The trail quietly begins in Ohio’s quintessential college town, Athens, home of Ohio University. Riding on a smooth asphalt surface, which will be enjoyed the entire length, you start behind a busy section of town with numerous businesses situated along State Street. After a few miles, you will pass the Athens Community Center and pool, then travel upon the levee of the Hocking River. Ohio University’s campus comes along the north side of the trail and creates a pleasant atmosphere, including close passage by the imposing Bob Wren Stadium, home of the Ohio Bobcats baseball team. The route continues through the west side of Athens about another 2 miles, passing West State Street Park with its impressive community gardens.
After you cross the bridge over the Hocking River, there is a noticeable shift from an in-town feeling to the solitude of quiet forest. Lush tree cover creates a tunnel-like effect for the vast remainder of the path, a pleasant respite on a hot summer day. As you meander in and out of the dense forest, openings in the trees frame classic farm field vistas, which, combined with rock outcrops, make this stretch of trail an absolute joy to experience. Common sights along the trail include deer, herons, snakes, and many more species. Adding visual interest to the experience, active railroad tracks are in close proximity to the trail the majority of the way, though train traffic is not frequent.
The very rural, natural setting is finally broken when you emerge onto the small campus of Hocking College outside Nelsonville. A couple of miles past the college, you will enter the town of Nelsonville itself. The path ends behind the Rocky Boots factory (founded in 1932) at a dedicated trailhead. Whether you begin or end your ride in Nelsonville, a visit to the historical town square, just a block from the trailhead, is highly recommended.
Plans are in the works to extend the trail another 1.5 miles east from its current southern endpoint. The new section, anticipated for completion in 2018, would continue the trail along the south side of US 50 to Canaan Road in Athens.
To reach the southeastern trailhead in Athens: From I-77, take Exit 176 for US 50. Head west 10.2 miles on US 50, and use the left lane to merge onto OH 32/OH 7/US 50. In 11.5 miles, keep right to stay on US 50. In 16.4 miles take the exit for E. State St. Head west 1 mile on State St. to find the trailhead on the left.
To reach the West State Street Park trailhead: Follow the directions above to OH 32/OH 7/US 50. Go 20.6 miles, and take Exit 17 for OH 682 and head north. In 0.4 mile turn right onto Richland Ave. In 0.2 mile turn left onto Shafer St. Go 1 mile and turn left onto W. State St. West State Street Park will appear in about a mile at the end of the road.
To reach the northern trailhead in Nelsonville: From I-70, take Exit 132 for OH 13. Head south on OH 13, and go 7.7 miles. Turn right onto OH 256, and go 1.7 miles. Turn left onto OH 664. In 10.8 miles, turn right to stay on OH 664, and go 11.3 miles. At the second traffic circle, take the third exit (essentially turning left) for US 33 eastbound. In 11.4 miles take the exit for John Lloyd Evans Memorial Dr. Turn right onto John Lloyd Evans Memorial Dr., and go 0.5 mile. At the traffic circle, take the second exit (turning left) for W. Washington St., which becomes W. Canal St., then Old US 33 in the heart of Nelsonville. In 1.1 miles take a right onto Hocking St. (Myers St.); the trailhead is on the right in the parking lot behind the large Rocky Boots factory.
Rode the trail from West State Street Park to Nelsonville, and back, about 14 miles each way. To reach the trail, follow W. State St. straight through the park, all the way to the end where it loops around the last baseball diamond. There is parking along the diamond loop. The trail is along the outer edge of the loop.
Riding the trail towards Nelsonville, the trail initially has a short downhill section (moderate) and then levels out quickly. The whole way out, I kept feeling like I was riding ever so slightly downhill, but the ride back felt just as easy. I wonder if the overall grade of the trail might be close to neutral, with sections that offer mild gradients periodically.
This section of trail is generally tree covered, providing nice shade. The portion through Athens itself, for the short portion I tried, seemed more open and exposed.
The trail does have some areas of root ridges, but they generally seemed to come it small clusters, and then be fine for a while. The trail otherwise seemed very smooth. There are periodic points when the trail must cross a road. Do follow the signs to stop/yield, but most crossings were easy. Mile markers are painted on the trail pavement, and while the numbers are not large, they are part of a stripe across the width of the trail, making them more pronounced.
I didn't really see any restroom facilities at West State Street Park, which seems odd for its size. Later, I found that if you follow the trail towards Athens for at most a quarter mile, after you go through the small parking lot and cross the street, there is a small red and white building on the trail that had signs noting it has water and restrooms available dawn to dusk (did not go in to verify). There also were port-o-potties along the trail by the road crossing at the Eclipse Company Store (mile 7), the Beaumont trailhead (mile 11), and in the Hocking College parking lot by the historical village (mile 16.5). The northern end of the trail runs between the Hocking College building and its parking lot. If you really had to, you could probably quickly run into one of the college buildings to find a restroom. The trail through Hocking College, by the historical village, also had a water fountain/bottle fill station, and a picnic pavilion to take a break. The signage at Nelsonville indicated restroom and water, but I didn't go into town to verify.
There are several points along the trail to park. They appear well illustrated on the trail's official pamphlet map (http://athensohio.com/wheretoplay/hockhocking-adena-bikeway-2/).
This trail overall just felt like a really nice ride. Very glad I tried it.
We are in our 60s and like paved trails such as this one. We parked at the Athens Community Center and city park, under the solar collectors. Its just north of highway 50 as you come in to town from the east. We biked 18 miles to Nelsonville and back in one day. Great trail, well maintained, and goes thru beautiful scenery and wildlife along the Hocking River. Only one place to get food or water once the trail leaves Athens, and that's the Company Store bar a few miles north of Athens. At the north trail end in Nelsonville there are plenty of food choices. There are mile markers every half mile. At Nelsonville, the trail kinda dumps you onto a back street at the end, but you are near a great outdoor supply store that has a café! We highly recommend this trail. Thanks to those who maintain this trail!
A one and one half hour drive to Athens to ride this trail from our home in Huntington, WV is always well worth it. The majority of the trail is canopied and keeps the temps 10 - 15 degrees cooler than what is reported. Only the campus of Ohio University is entirely in the open and can be hot in mid summer days with a cloudless sky. A stop at The Eclipse Company Store, at mile marker 7.5, is a must for cold libations and fuel for the ride- before, during or after. We have found that starting at Nelsonville makes for a better and more enjoyable ride as this is the most shaded part of the ride and less headwinds, coming or going.
We started on the Nelsonville end of the trail. Rather than trying to find a safe spot to park at the true end of the trail, we parked in a nice spacious lot near Route 691 and went from there.
The trail is nice and flat and very much tree-covered which makes all of the difference on a hot summer day. This trail really takes you away from the stresses of life and deep into nature with a nice variety of scenery from rock cliffs to swamps to woodlands to open fields.
A couple of tips, we did notice that it seems to be a constant (slight) downward grade from the Nelsonville end going toward Athens. We're very leisurely riders, so next time we'll probably start at the other end so that the second half of our ride is easier.
Also, don't miss out on stopping at the Eclipse Company Store right on the bike trail at the Jackson Drive crossing. It's a great place to stop, relax, and have a drink and/or bite to eat.
Sorry but I'm maybe not as generous in my review as other trail users. Started in Athens near Habitat for Humanity. Only 4 parking spots here. The American Legion tolerates parking. That comes from a local who I talked to upon arrival. Parked there because the site map says water and bathrooms are here. Nope. A mile north is a park/baseball diamonds. No water or bathrooms. Few porta-pots along trail but no free water until you get to Robbins Crossing/Hocking College. Oh yea the fountain beside the trail with a sign proclaiming the evils of bottled, store bought water...not even turned on!! Luckily there are many hydrates in the parking lot. Nelsonville end does need signs for out of towners. The only one is for Rocky Shoe Store's restaurant The Grill. Again a local told me there are restrooms...on the third floor of the store!
Scenery, beautiful. Trail is truly in the "back country" very little crossings of busy roads. There are numerous crossings for Hanley Run, a true single lane road (?).
So, all in all, 4.5-5 for scenery and maintenance of trail; 2 stars for lack of water, amenities.
My wife and I rode part of the trail from Nelsonville out about 7 mi. Trail looks to be well maintained, there was a downed tree over the trail about 3 mi out but was able able to get over it looks like they had been working on removing it . Over all the trail was great with pretty good shade would for sure ride it again.
In April 2017 a friend and I rode the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway from west of Athens to Nelsonville (about 12 miles each way). The trail is paved and generally good (occasional bumps from roots). Route is shaded and follows the Hocking River with mile markers every half mile. Bluebells and trillium were putting on a show - thanks to the folks who planted them! At Nelsonville the trail peters out - would be nice to have directional sign to Fullbrook Cafe or other eateries. Bring hydration as nowhere to stop in between towns.
Nice ride. Trail well taken care of. Started at Hocking College parking lot. A little difficult to follow directions to parking lot. By accident we ended up at college parking lot along side trail. Beautiful scenery at this time of the year. Gorgeous wildflowers all around trail. Only rode 10 miles. Look forward to starting in Athens and seeing that end of the trail.
I try to ride the Hockhocking trail at least two times a year. It is one of my favorite rides and catching it on a weekday when it is not so busy, especially on the Athens side is great BUT catching it when the weather and spring wildflowers were showcasing the very "Best Of" made for the perfect ride. The trilliums and wild phlox were in full bloom as were the fields of bluebells planted along the bikeway giving the surreal appearance of riding on clouds. Much work has been done in maintaining the trails right-of-way clearing trees and brush and to the trail itself with the freshly painted mile markers done with a Native American style. (kudos to the folks that keep this a 5star trail!) Me and my 75-year old friend Dave rode from the trail head at the outskirts of Athens to Nelsonville and back. It is almost a 40 mile ride but I usually tack on the difference to make a legitimate 40-miler. It never fails that I observe something new every time I travel this trail... this time, I saw several concrete structures used to support the old rail line. I like the history stuff associated with rail trails and try to envision what it must've been like when the earliest Ohioans used these canal and rail lines to transport goods and materials into the edges of the new west. I look forward to at least one more drive (almost 2 hours one-way) to the Hockhocking Adena and chance to ride this GREAT rail trail!
Started in Athens behind Aarons. In a few places trail could be better marked, but managed to get out of town. Trail is mostly through deep woods so is nicely shaded, although also means trail is littered in places with twigs and leaves. Nice to be able to ride 20 miles (each way) with no major road crossings. Bicycle pump station at about mile 7; otherwise not a lot to see until you get to Hocking College and Nelsonville.
Rode with my wife from
It was great! But that trail is not for the squeamish. I caught a glimpse of a dead snake. Disgusting. Try to avoid the edges, I inform you, because you'll never know where a snake will be lying dead.
My wife and I traveled from Michigan to ride this trail and hike in the Hocking Hills State Park. We started in at the train depot in Nelsonville and rode to the end just south of Athens. The trail is very nice, well maintained, and basically level. Though the portion through Athens and around OU isn't a rail trail, its pleasant to ride.
The little town of Eclipse about 7 miles North of Athens is an old mining town that's worth a look. The coffee/bakery shop has good pastries and sandwiches. There's also a bike shop, gift shop, and old general store turned restaurant/event caterer.
We stayed at a Historic Host B&B which has two houses in Nelsonville within 3 blocks of the trailhead. Very nice place and, again, reasonably priced. We'll be back in the spring to do it again.
We live 38 miles from Athens and visit at least a couple times a month. This trail is absolutely gorgeous in the fall when the leaves have changed colors.
This trail is absolutely a joy. Most of it is shaded and get glimpses of the river intermittently. There's is a section that opens up to some fields and Prairies with a lot of butterflies and birds flowers etc. there is a bike shop in the little town of Eclipse , it's worth a stop and also restaurant across the street although it has some unusual hours. he sure to take the time when you're at the end in Nelsonville to stop at the brook shoe factory and take a quick tour around the store and maybe catch a bite at the restaurant there as well
Visiting from out of town after a wedding and came upon this little gem. 18 or so miles, paved, shaded, few road crossings. Really nice little trail. Started at bike shop in The Plains and rode to Nelsonville. Birds, chipmunks, a few other riders and a great trail They could use better directions to the parking areas and maps to give out but really was fine without them.
Nice trail we parked in Nelsonville at the college, near the railway and Rockys store. Trail is 20 miles in length. We biked from Nelsonville to Ohio Univ in Athens. Trail loops around the campus. Trail goes though a wooded area and farmlands. We came upon an abandoned trailer park and did the research on it to find a tornado damaged it 4 years ago.
All around nice trail. In Athens there are eateries. Public restroom at the Habitat building in Athens.
Grew up in Nelsonville and wow what a great bike path. Just started riding a bike at 50 and thought I would go back to the home stomping grounds and check it out. What a wonderful surprise. The path crossed many of special childhood memories as it winds along the Hocking river. Beautiful scenery, very nice wide path and asphalt is in excellent condition. With all the surrounding hills, it amazed me how flat the trail actually is and to cover from the Rocky Boot Outlet Store, in Nelsonville, to White's Mill in Athens only took one hour. Spent and hour in Athens and took an hour and fifteen back (wind was in my face going back, dang that's tough) Most of my rides are on the Lancaster, OH Heritage Trail, which is also nice but extremely more demanding with all the grades and turns, not for the timid if you are trying to keep a pace.
Anyway, I will definetly return as often as possible and recommend this ride, whether for a family cruise or if looking to make a fast enduring ride.
This is a beautiful, scenic, peaceful trail without any noise, for the most part, other than the birds singing. The trail was paved and smooth, with the exception of a piece of it that winds through OU. There's a quaint restaurant right on the trail in a little area called The Plains that we will try for brunch on our next ride through. Round trip it's approximately 40 miles, which is about our max!
Can't wait to ride this one again!
Rode this trail July 2013. Started at the Athens trailhead. Found a convenient parking lot marked "bike path use only". The first 5 miles were pretty uninspiring; rolling behind businesses and across a college campus. After 5 miles the trail evolved into a more traditional rail trail, with views of the river, and dense forest. Quite enjoyable! The trail is blacktop. Little rough behind the campus, but PERFECT past the campus to Nelsonville! I was able to make great time on this smooth surface, rode to Nelsonville and back to Athens in about 3 hours. Total mileage about 40 miles. I would definitely recommend this trail to anyone wanting a smooth easy ride!
In the Spring the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, simply called "the bike path" to the locals, features the Athens Marathon and Half Marathon. The course starts on W. Union St, winds around some small streets before merging on to the bike path. The marathon and half marathon courses are essentially out and back on the bike path, with the finish being around OU's track. Great course for a PR. I ran this trail literally every weekend for nearly 5 years while I was a student- its a great way to get in your long runs. If you're looking to do the race, be aware, drink stations are scarce, but its a great race, in a great city, with great people!
Name your distance! Short ride to over 40 miles! Nice smooth trail that is pretty level and you can maintain a constant speed. If you are going to ride the entire distance, take water as there is none along the way once you leave Athens or Nelsonville. I love this trail!
I was in town for a wedding, and used the eastern part of the trail for my morning walk. I would think this is very helpful to the OU student community - they can easily ride from campus out to the shopping on East State Street without having to negotiate traffic. Well kept, well marked, good facilities along the way - can't ask for anything better!
This is my 3rd ride on this trail and I always enjoy the trails beauty along the Hocking River.
This is a must ride for those visiting Ohio.
Thanks Ohio for some of the greatest trails in the US.
I rode this trail last Oct and had a great ride. I will be riding again the last week of May with some friends. Looking forward to the ride. This is one of the best trails I have ridden, the trail is in great shape, it runs through the wood along side the Hocking river, passing a few communities on to Athens home of the Ohio University Bob Cats. Thanks Ohio for providing us with a great trail!
I parked in the lot at Rocky's in Nelsonville, the trail head is well marked and easy to locate. Starting off you have to ride behind some run down apartments then on to Hocking Technical College which was very busy with pedestrian traffic and cars in and out of the parking lot, slow going. From there it is a nice ride through the country along side the Hocking river, you will have to cross several back roads but they are well marked with stop signs. Coming into the Plains there is a trailer park with some abandoned trailers with graffiti which could be cleaned up but not a hindrance to the bike path. Since I was riding on a Monday the restaurant in the Plains was closed. Getting closer to Athens I passed some ball parks on the left, which were well taken care of. There is one busy street coming into Athens at the Habitat House that I had to wait for several minutes for traffic to clear before crossing. The trail continues to be in great shape until you reach the Field House at OU then it becomes fairly rough. I exited at the library so I could stop at Bob Evans for a quick bite to eat. The ride back was fast and furious since the rain clouds were moving in, the last 8 miles north to Nelsonville were in the rain which wasn't too bad since the temp was in the mid 70's.
Back at Rocky's I met with some friend for a late lunch
This is a great trail and I will definitely ride it again.
Thanks Ohio for another great trail.
I rode this trail today, April 23, 2011, and found it to be an excellent ride. There is a small and convenient gravel parking lot adjacent to the Ohio University campus on E. Stimson Avenue and the trailhead is across the road. From here, cyclists can ride along the southern edge of the campus along the Hocking River to reach the Habitat for Humanity. Across West Union Street from this small building is a park with ample paved parking adjacent to the trail. As of this date, there is a cement barricade across the road into the park with a Bike Trail Closed banner across it. However, there is also a well-worn trail around the barricade so I really think that it is mainly to keep cars out of the park but to allow cyclists to ride the trail. I rode around the barricade and then rode the entire length of the trail and found no problems at all, including no bridges under repair or any high water. There were dozens of other cyclists as well. The trail was an excellent ride. It is a mild upgrade while riding north and a complementary downslope riding south. For this reason I recommend parking near Ohio University even though there is plenty of parking at the train station trailhead in Nelsonville. Be advised, though, that the train station in Nelsonville offers scenic train rides north to Logan so, on event days, parking can become scarce. As it was a nice spring day I took hundreds of pictures all along the route. The last time that I rode this trail in May 2008 the trail ended at Hocking College. Since then it has been cleared and paved and now continues north into Nelsonville. It is along this short section that riders will be treated to a collection of old log cabins, a monument to the Star Brick Company, a railroad and bikeway bridge, dozens of old train cars in a railroad cemetery, and, if you're lucky, you'll be able to watch the train pulling out of Nelsonville. Round trip today was 34.6 miles of scenic riding. I've ridden just about every rails-to-trails in Ohio and this is one of the best ones!
In the small town of Chauncey is a log cabin thato is across the road from the trail. It is at the end of the road near the cabin that the Survey Marker Trail starts. That is a dirt trail meant for hikers and mountain bikes.
~ Trail Jogger ~
My 6 year old and I rode this trail in March 2010. She has a tag-along bike that is attached to mine and we so enjoyed the flat, paved trail.
We started at Rocky's Sporting Goods in Nelsonville and rode about 10 miles. It was so well marked and we loved the scenery along the way. Even though it goes behind apartment complexes and houses, it was still a great ride. Riding along side the train tracks was fun for her and seeing the train cars made the ride even more enjoyable.
We will return and ride the entire trail this fall. I know the changing leaves will be spectacular to see.
Nice Rail Trail once you get passed the "speed bumps" ..... We started from the Athens end of the trail and just as soon as we came to were the light posts begin near OSU the trail became a real bumpy ride for a while.... thank goodness it smoothed out after the university section. Traveling on toward West Union Ave. in Athens at the Habitat for Humanity were we stopped for a restroom break. From here the trail goes back to more of a rail trail feel. All the way to Nelsonville was great. County maintenance workers were busily trimming and mowing the trail. At Nelsonville "Robbins Crossing" Pioneer Village was a nice suprise to end the ride with. The day we were there it looked like a trail extension was being cleared by heavy equipment right next to the Colledge at the Nelsonville End...
"This is a beautiful trail, the asphalt wide and in excellent condition, following the Hocking River most of the way through forest. It's 17 miles, not 19, from the Athens Community Center on E. State to Hocking College in Nelsonville. There are no services at the Nelsonville trailhead, so we were glad we'd packed a lunch. Another option would have been eating in a tiny town, The Plains, once a coal company town, the best preserved one in Ohio, at mile 7.2. Two of the identical bungalows are cafes serving daily lunches.
In Athens, you could shorten the trail by 3 miles by starting at the park behind the American Legion on W. Union St., on the west side of town. On a very hot day, this would put you in shade most of the way. The first 3 miles from the community center, however, are along the Hocking River, pleasant and away from traffic."
"What a great trail. So much shade not a lot of traffic. The trail is clean and has benches to stop and sit. It is truly beautiful.We got on at Nelsonville and road 10 miles. We had a great day and are planning to go again in the fall when the leaves turn. And did I mention, we are in our 70's and just started biking. So come on you seniors push the envelope and get out there and enjoy the world. "
Great spring warm-up. You'll have plenty to do in the surrounding area. The Inn at Hocking College is on the trail.
"My friend and I did this trail in early April. It was perfect-the wildflowers were in abundance, and it was an easy ride-we did the twenty miles back and forth to Athens in record time!"
"you won't want to miss any season when riding or walking this trail. wonderful,clean,refreshing! even my winter biking excursions here are full of new vistas. come one - come all and enjoy the best trail in southeastern ohio. "
"I ride or walk along this trail nearly every day of the year. It is flat, well maintained and runs through some of the most beautiful scenery. Rock outcroppings, natural springs and caves are only rivaled by the Great Blue Heron, Hawks and Deer that frequent the area around the trail.
If I am not on the trail itself, I am often kayaking the Hocking river below (http://www.paddling.net/places/showReport.html?192)"
This trail is perfect - easy riding - beautiful scenery - trail is kept up very well.
"On October 23, 2004, we used this trail as a group of eight in-line skatrs and two bikers. As we passed the rear of the stadium the Ohio University football team was just ""kicking off."" We had a great ride and skate on this beautiful trail."
"We ride a recumbant and a hand cycle. This trail was surprisingly flat for the Hocking Hills area! In our two week stay in Rockbridge, we rode round trip from Nelsonville to Athens about 6 times. What a delight. We saw deer almost every time and a coyote. We saw lots of indigo buntings and bluebirds and cardinals and hawks, etc.
The canopy of trees over the trail provided a cool ride even in July! You cross the Hocking River several times and ride through Wayne National Forest and other rural parts of Hocking Hills. You can park in Nelsonville at the college (which has a convenient restroom Monday-Friday) or the Hotel (Ramada
I think). You can eat at the Coffee Cup on HWY 33. They have good food and nice outside patio in the summer.
In Athens the ball field recreation area was the best for us because the last mile of so is in the full sun running behind the University and the Mall with the river more like a canal. That part isn't nearly as scenic. They say it is going to be extended on from Athens to Dow Lake, another few miles. That sounds promising. Athens is a neat ""college town"" with quite a number of interesting places to eat. A Great Ride."
"Our family of four, with two young sons, rode from Nelsonville to Athens this summer (August, 2003) on a Sunday morning. The trail was lightly used, traversed a variety of interesting landscapes, and presented a dramatic entranceway into Athens. The hotel parking lot in Nelsonville, a hotel run by students at the local college, is connected directly to the trail only about 1/8 mile from trail head.
Only confusing part is the optional turn off to go into ""downtown"" Athens which is not well marked once the trail is exited. Recommend staying on main trail and going through the university. We had a variety of local restaurants to choose from for lunch in downtown. Great trail and great day."
"My husband and I drove three hours to ride this trail. It was worth the drive. Starting in Athens the college, golf course and parks are beautiful. The ride to Nelsonville is comfortable with nice scenery all the way. There are rock ledges and waterways along the way. It isn't a busy trail and it's paved all the way. It's a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon."
"My wife and I rode the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway from Athens to Nelsonville. It was our first time on this trail and it is a very nice, well kept, scenic ride. Two pieces of information - first, along a large portion of the trail on the OU campus there are stacks of sewer or water pipe that appear to be in preparation for a major project. Looks like this could possibly cause some interruptions to use of this portion of the trail sometime in the future. Second - good news, there is a new Porta Potty on the trail between the 10 and 10.5 mile marker. It is a handicap accessible unit and was very clean."
"Started the ride at the Hocking College in Nelsonville, OH. Trail ends just past the campus of Ohio University in Athens, OH. Lots to see including rock ledges rising steeply up on the sides of the trail. The trail follows the river for most of its length. Well worth the trip."
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