Location: Athens County
Length: 20.4 miles / asphalt
The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway connects Nelsonville with Athens in Athens County in southeast Ohio. [Scroll past 'Trail Facts' to continue reading.]
I started my ride in Nelsonville, from the southernmost end of the campus grounds at Hocking College. Since that time, the trail has been extended 1.2 miles northward through campus and into Nelsonville.
Rock outcroppings grab your attention as you leave the campus area and head south. The Hocking River is in view during much of this ride through quiet, peaceful, wooded country. Plenty of tree cover accompanies you as well as a rail line that follows intermittently alongside as you continue in a southeasterly direction. The trail skirts briefly through Wayne National Forest, a nature preserve.
As you approach Athens, you'll see what appears to be a connecting path that veers off to the right. This apparent offshoot is in fact the main trail and is clearly marked with signs that direct you toward the Ohio University Campus. If you continue straight ahead and ignore this turn, you'll find that the trail ends shortly at Currier Street where there's a small parking lot.
Continuing on toward OU, the trail passes alongside some ball fields off W. State Street before emerging from the cover of trees and brush. Soon you meet up with the Hocking River in full view on your right. The scenery is quite splendid here with tall hills standing over the river.
The bikeway moves onto the OU campus where it begins its sweep around the edge of the grounds passing the football stadium and then a portion of the golf course where signs alert you to be on the lookout for flying golf balls(!) This section of the trail has light posts every few yards along the path, a nice touch.
Just before leaving campus the trail encounters a couple of connecting paths. Stay alongside the river and continue on until you come to East State St. Park, the bikeway's former endpoint.
In 2008 the trail was extended further along East State Street, adding about 1 mile to its length.
A .8-mile trail spur to Athens High School was also added. Another spur into Athens was completed in 2016.
This bikeway is unique in that it links two college campuses by trail. Also, it's one of the few paved bike trails we've encountered that's open at night.