Although it’s probably better known in popular culture as a prototypical, iconic college town, the city of Athens, Georgia, is not the only noteworthy Athens to be found in the U.S. In fact, it’s not even the only prolific college town in the country called Athens! Athens, Ohio, is undoubtedly a fun college town in its own right that’s home to its own set of activities, scenery, and experiences. Here’s a fun list of some of the best outdoor things to do in Athens, Ohio.
Hike the Ridges
One of a multitude of trail options to choose from in the city is a well-known trail that runs through the Ridges — 700 acres situated on the outskirts of Ohio University’s campus. Four different trails that run through the Ridges feature a tremendous amount of natural beauty and serenity and make for a great outdoor experience in their own right, but the history of the grounds provides an interesting atmosphere that’s worth exploring. The one that is most often cited as the best one with the most beautiful scenery is the Ridges Cemetery Nature Walk, a path that winds through the shadows of old abandoned hospital buildings.
Explore the Hocking Hills
A collection of state and local parks and preserves, historical sites, and a national forest, there are a plethora of trails, historic sites, and various other areas and points of interest to be found in the Hocking Hills. Featuring enough diversity to keep all levels of expertise and interest in outdoor activities occupied, there’s something for everybody to be found here. There’s an extensive trail system for hikers, including a portion of the famed Buckeye Trail. Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, and Cedar Falls are all popular destination hikes among visitors, too.
There are designated campsites as well as spots for primitive camping for the more minimalist of us. Along the Hocking River, there are places to both rent and launch kayaks, canoes, and rafts, in addition to companies that offer guided trips on the river. And some of the most exciting, extensive zipline systems in the Midwest can be found winding through the heavy forests of Hocking Hills.
Hockhocking Adena Bikeway
This is technically another feature of the Hocking Hills, but it’s an interesting enough proposition that deserves its own merit. This 21-mile bike path features an extremely easy, gentle slope that makes it a great option for people of all physical abilities and intentions. Well-suited for biking, hiking, or any other number of ways to get around, this trail offers an easy, slower-paced alternative for those who just want to get out and feel some air on their faces. Plus, you can rent bikes cheaply at various stations dotted along the trail if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of transporting your own.
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