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The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway traces a beautiful, twisting 20-mile course from Athens to Nelsonville along the Hocking River. The rail-trail draws its name from the ancient Adena Indians who lived in this area and called the Hocking, a tributary of the Ohio River, "Hockhocking" or "bottle river" for the tapered bottleneck shape of this river valley in southeast Ohio.
From the southern trailhead on the Ohio University campus in Athens, the trail begins with 1.5 miles of commercial convenience: many different stores connect to the bikeway, making it a popular venue for college students and shopping. There are three access points to the popular Athens Community Center, which has restrooms, a swimming pool, a volleyball court, tennis courts and a skate park. The trail then connects to the Ohio University bikeway. The path, like the school, borders the Hocking River, part of the reason behind Ohio University's "Harvard on the Hocking" nickname.
Over the next couple miles, the Hockhocking Adena trail crosses a golf course and passes the Athens Public Library, residence dorms, O'Bleness Hospital, a state mental health facility and numerous athletic fields and stadiums. Upon leaving the Ohio University campus, the trail passes a Habitat for Humanity building that provides public restrooms. The trail then crosses to the west bank of the Hocking River, and things slow down. In 2.5 miles a short spur trail connects to Eclipse, a former coal-mining town, which has a restaurant that is usually open for dinner. Many of the miner's homes have been renovated, and the old company store is still standing.
Back on the rail-trail you wind through rolling Appalachian foothills, the dense woods of Wayne National Forest, wetlands and occasional fields and along the meandering river. In the spring, the wildflowers in the forested areas provide an ever-changing, colorful panorama. Deer are abundant, and you may see raccoons amble across your path as well.
Near mile 10 is the Beaumont (also called Salinas) rest area. An early 1900s coal and salt-mining town once stood here; look for the remains of the mines that produced salt and coal. The remaining 6.5 miles is classic Appalachia, as you travel along the Hocking River and pass through a portion of the Wayne National Forest. The trailhead on the Hocking College campus in Nelsonville features a spur of the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad, so you can cap off your rail-trail excursion with a ride on the rails. Courtesy of a recently awarded State of Ohio grant, the bikeway continues from Hocking College just over 1 mile into downtown Nelsonville.
To reach the trailhead on the Ohio University-Athens campus: Take the State Street Exit east from SR 33 in Athens. The main trailhead will be on the right in 1.75 miles.
To access the Robbin's Crossing trailhead at Hocking College: From SR 33 just south of Nelsonville, turn right on SR 691. Continue 500 feet to Hocking Parkway, turn right and continue for 0.5 mile. Turn left on Robbin's Crossing to the trailhead.
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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