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Story & Photos by Matt Bayman

The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway spans 21 miles and connects two Appalachian college towns—Athens (Ohio University) and Nelsonville (Hocking College). Both communities are filled with interesting things to see and do, including taking a train ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway and visiting landmark restaurants and shops, like the Rocky Outdoor Gear Store in the heart of Nelsonville or Restaurant Salaam, a popular Mediterranean-themed eatery in downtown Athens.


   In between these towns and attractions, cyclists follow the Hocking River valley through two peaceful state preserves and along mostly flat terrain. However, the beautiful hills that surround the valley are always in view. This makes it a scenic but not difficult bicycle ride.


   Starting east of Athens (across from Strouds Run State Park), the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway first passes through an industrial area before reaching the campus of Ohio University. The trail then winds through the university golf course and past Peden Stadium and historic White’s Mill before crossing the Hocking River and entering a more rural setting. 


   One of the last stops before the trail enters the wilderness is the Eclipse Company Store (a restaurant), located in the small town of The Plains. Along with comfort foods and beverages, the restaurant hosts live music and weekly events, including on an outdoor patio that overlooks the bike path. The restaurant is named after (and was part of) a “company” mining town that operated here in the early 20th century. In fact, the town is located on top of an old mine!


   The most scenic (and longest) part of the bikeway is between The Plains and Nelsonville. Here, the trail passes through Bluebell Preserve, followed by Poston Preserve, all without ever straying too far from the Hocking River. Numerous birds and other wildlife can be seen near the trail.  

 Eventually, the bikeway reaches Nelsonville, starting with passing The Lodge at Hocking College and then entering the campus of Hocking College itself. 


   Upon entering campus, look for the Hocking College Nature Center and the Robbins Crossing Historic Village. The village is a living history center designed to share a love for Appalachian arts, crafts, and culture and hosts occasional public events. 


   The final leg of the trail follows the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway and ends at the train station in Nelsonville, just steps away from many other attractions in this rustic downtown. 


   Train rides on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway are offered during designated times in the colder months (including Valentine’s Day themed rides) and on weekends in May through October. Other themed rides include: Robbery Trains, Dinner Trains, a Halloween Train, October Fall Foliage, Steam Specials, Santa Trains, and a New Year’s Eve Train. 


   In addition to the Rocky Outdoor Gear Store, where you can find “products for work, play, and everything in between,” and that also includes the Starbrick BBQ restaurant, there are several noteworthy places to dine and shop in downtown Nelsonville. This includes The Makers Loft (gift store) and FullBrooks Café. And don’t forget to check out the historic architecture in the community, including Stuart’s Opera House.  


   All in all, an entire day or longer can be spent enjoying the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway and everything it has to offer. Whether in the spring, summer or fall, the bikeway passes through a picturesque part of Ohio and connects two interesting and recreationally friendly towns.

Strouds Run State Park
11661 State Park Rd., Athens 

Restaurant Salaam 
21 W. Washington St., Athens 

 

Ohio Museum Complex and Kennedy Museum of Art

100 Ridges Circle, Athens 

Dairy Barn Arts Center 
8000 Dairy Ln., Athens 

 

Peden Stadium 
200 Richland Ave., Athens 

 

White’s Mill 
2 White’s Mill Dr., Athens

 

Larry’s Dawg House
410 W. Union St, Athens

 

Little Fish Brewing Company
8675 Armitage Rd., Athens 

 

Devil’s Kettle Brewing 
97 Columbus Rd., Athens 

 

Mum Mum Hibachi 
139 Columbus Rd., Athens 

 

Karmageddon Disc Golf Course 
Armitage Rd., Athens 

 

Eclipse Company Store (dining) 
11309 Jackson Dr., The Plains

 

Fast Traxx Motoplex 
(off-road race track) 
5999 Warren Dr., Nelsonville 

 

The Lodge at Hocking College 
15770 St. Rt. 691, Nelsonville 

 

Hocking College Nature Center 
3377 Hocking Parkway, Nelsonville 

 

Robbins Crossing Historic Village 
3301 Hocking Parkway, Nelsonville 

 

Hocking College 
15770 St. Rt. 691, Nelsonville 

 

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway Engine House

(museum)
346 Railroad St., Nelsonville 

 

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway 
33 W. Canal St., Nelsonville 

 

Rocky Outdoor Gear Store 
45 E. Canal St., Nelsonville 

 

FullBrooks Café
6 Public Square, Nelsonville

 

The Makers Loft

(gift shop)
72 W. Washington St., Nelsonville

 

New Leaf Marketplace 
31 Public Square, Nelsonville 

 

Nelsonville Water Park 
40 W. Canal St., Nelsonville 

 

Stuart’s Opera House 
52 Public Square, Nelsonville 

 

Nelsonville Brick Park 
580 Lake Hope Dr., Nelsonville 

Places To Visit

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