The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway stretches between Nelsonville and Athens in Athens County in southeast Ohio.
I started my ride in Nelsonville at Hocking College. There a single rail line passes through campus. Following this line southeast will take you to the start of the paved bikeway section just beyond the edge of campus, or you can follow the road around the parking lot to the trailhead.
Rock outcroppings immediately grab your attention as you leave the Nelsonville area. 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.
Further down the trail you approach 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 in Athens where there's a small trail 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 as you pass a medical center on your left. The scenery is quite splendid here with tall hills standing over the river. It reminded me a little of some of the perspectives along the River Corridor Bikeway where you also get great views from the river bank.
The bikeway narrows briefly on campus where the trail 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 small 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 a water treatment plant. Here you bear left onto a road then right again as the path picks up and takes you through East State St. Park where the bikeway used to end at the basketball courts.
In 2008 the trail was extended a bit further into Athens along East State Street adding about 1 mile to its length.
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 (consult their web site for trail rules, guidelines, etc.). It's clearly marked with signposts. There's no question as to where you're heading when you're on the bikeway, or where you need to turn (perhaps with the exception of the connecting paths on the OU campus). That's certainly a comfort to first time visitors.
Length: 17.9 miles - the path is approx. 10' wide with 8-14' widths in Athens
Facilities: A water fountain along the trail on the OU campus. Water fountains in E. State St. Park (look for them close to the ground by the basketball & handball courts - they're hard to spot). A Porto-john between mile marker 10 & 10.5. Facilities can also be found at the ball fields (in season) along the trail by W. State St. (Jaycee's Field, I believe).
Food: Several to choose from on E. State St. in Athens - there's one just outside the park's entrance and several more 1/4 to 1/2 mi. east (turn right on E. State coming out of the park).
Parking: Parking at the trail endpoints - E. State St., as well as E. State St. Park. Also at Hocking College in Nelsonville. Also a couple of spaces at the end of the spur at Currier Street in Athens.
Hocking-College The-Plains OU-Athens E.State-St
17.9mi 8.4mi 3.7mi 0mi