Looking for loop rides off the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway

After an amazing Ohio Brew Week I decided to pedal off a few of the pints I sampled. So I hit the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway for biking without the brew. You can do that. And it’s a blast.

I biked from Athens Near Eastside neighborhood up to the Eclipse Company Town, taking time to enjoy to cool, shady stretches along the way. When I hit the Eclipse, I took the Athens High School Spur to extend the ride a bit and added a (humble) climb. Then I turned and doubled back.

 

When I got to Armitage Farm on my way back to Athens, I took the Armitage Road loop that leads down to Little Fish, stopping to say hi to the livestock along the way. (Turn onto the gravel road at the farm, right next to the boxcars; the go left onto Armitage Road).

Armitage is a mix of gravel and paved road with some washboard sections and a few modest hills, but it was a nice way to see different scenery on the return trip. And there’s very little traffic.

 

You’ll cross the railroad tracks twice on Armitage Road if you go all the way to Little Fish. I turned left onto the Little Fish Spur despite a strong urge to see what the Cajun Clucker was serving for lunch.

 

After returning to the bikeway, I dodged geese and watched wildlife along the swollen Hocking River. I’ve been seeing a lot of blue heron this year, and this ride was no exception. I also saw a bunch of boisterous bluebirds zooming around the golf course.

But I still wasn’t ready to go home. So I kept going when I reached the Athens Library Spur and stayed on the bikeway until I hit the East State Street parking area. And I kept going. This is my least favorite section of the bikeway, running next to East State Street as it feeds into HIghway 50/32. Traffic. Noise. Yuk. But all is not lost …


You’ll see a flashing light on East State at Hope Drive. Go a bit farther …


Look for this left, just past the “Right Lane Ends” sign. Cross East State here onto Della Drive, very carefully (drivers tend to maintain highway speed as they exit onto East State, and eastbound cars start picking up speed as they get clear of the congestion).

After turning onto Della Drive, you’ll need to watch out for turtles …

Della Drive is a paved road with very little traffic. It’s a nice ride that T’s at the highway. From there, you’ll want to very carefully ride the shoulder about 200 yards to the turnoff for Dow Lake/Strouds Run. The shoulder is in great shape. Just stay as far off the road as possible here.


Once you pull into the lot, you can lock up your bike and take a hike or try the mountain bike trails at Strouds Run.

The big green hill you’ll see from the parking lot actually is the dam that creates Dow Lake. Trails are accessible on either side of the dam and if you’re ambitious, you can circumambulate the lake (that takes a few hours).

Return to the bikeway the same way you came. Use the shoulder to return to Della Drive, then take Della Back to the bikeway.

In all, this ride included two loops and a spur and came in at about 24 miles and took 1 hour, 39 minutes at an average speed of 14.2 mph. For more details on the loops and spurs of the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, check out our guide.

Ohio’s Best-Kept Bikeway Secret

The beers of Multiple Brewing

Out of all the Ohio bikeways, there’s one that’s off the beaten path, perfect for communing with nature, and easy enough for even the most die-hard anti-exercising souls among us.

It’s the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway between Athens and Nelsonville — about 21 miles long.

But the beauty of it is that it can be as short or long as you want it to be. You don’t have to go end-to-end, you can start in the middle: at the Eclipse, which is about 7 miles north of Athens. If you do, here’s what you’ll enjoy on your ride:

Ohio bikeways: Bikeway benches on the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway
Lots of benches to sit and take a break along the bikeway between Athens and Nelsonville

There are several beautiful spots to take a breather along the way (just remember to bring mosquito spray; much of this ride is along the Hocking River flood plain, which gets pretty swampy when it’s rained recently).

Portable restroom at Beaumont Salina.
Portable restroom at Beaumont Salina.

At Mile Marker 11, you’ll come to Beaumont Salina. There is parking here as well as a few picnic benches and a portable toilet. Great place to stretch your legs.

Bluebell Preserve offers gorgeous scenery along the bikeway between the Eclipse and Nelsonville.
Bluebell Preserve offers gorgeous scenery along the bikeway between the Eclipse and Nelsonville.

After you pass Beaumont Salina, watch for the Bluebell Nature Preserve, a 65-acre parcel that’s bursting with bluebells — not to mention shady trees and dramatic rockscapes — that line the bikeway.

An historic log cabin at Robbins Crossing near Hocking College in Nelsonville. There are several portable bathrooms near here. and this is a great spot to take a break after a long ride.
An historic log cabin at Robbins Crossing near Hocking College in Nelsonville. There are several portable bathrooms near here. and this is a great spot to take a break after a long ride.

Next stop: Hocking College and Robbins Crossing, just past Mile Marker 16. The bikeway cuts right across campus, and the historic log cabins of Robbins Crossing provide a great spot for a picnic lunch or water break. There also are portable toilets there. (This is where the Nelsonville Music Festival is held each year. It’s one of our favorites. If you’ve never been, add it to your bucket list.)

Rusting railcars along the bikeway.
Rusting railcars along the bikeway.

After you pass through Hocking College, keep an eye out for the railcars that line the bikepath. There’s a lot of railroad history here.

The video above shows the railroad bridge on this Ohio bikeway that takes you over the Hocking River and into Nelsonville.

The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway terminates here, at the parking lot for Rocky Brands in Nelsonville.
The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway terminates here, at the parking lot for Rocky Brands in Nelsonville.

At North Street, you’ll come to the terminus of the bikeway. It’s just a few blocks from here to Multiple Brewery

The beers of Multiple Brewing
The beers of Multiple Brewing

Ohio Bikeway Trip Notes

We did the full roundtrip: 38 miles in all from our house (which is just a few blocks from the bikeway). So all in all, this was a long trip. Five hours, total. But that included the time it took to stop several times along the way and about an hour each at Multiple Brewing and Los Mariachis restaurant for lunch.

As noted earlier, you could start from the Eclipse or even Beaumont Salina to cut that roundtrip to 22 or 14 miles, respectively.  And while that might sound daunting for recreational bikers, it’s very doable if you take several breaks along the way. We found it much easier than we thought it would be. Remember, the bikeway is mostly flat, which makes the pedaling much easier (plus that means it’s a way accessible trail) . Bring plenty of water and snacks, though.

Click the link below to see the route we took in details.

A Lunch Ride to The Eclipse and Little Fish’s Cajun Clucker

Eclipse Athens Ohio
The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway runs parallel to the Hocking River on this stretch just west of the Stimson Avenue bridge.
A gorgeous day on The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway

The calendar claimed it was July 9, but it felt more like a cool, sunny autumn day — perfect for a ride on the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway.

We set off from our house in Athens’ Near Eastside neighborhood and were confronted with a somber scene at White’s Mill, where workers were trying to recover the body of a kayaker who drowned in the Hocking the previous day. We’d had a lot of storms, lots of rains, and the Hocking was very high.

When we arrived at The Eclipse, the folks at Black Diamond Bicycles were kind enough to add air to our tires after we couldn’t get the public bike pumps at the Habitat House or the Eclipse to work.

Athens Ohio bike shops: Black Diamond Bicycles is at 11325 Jackson Road in the Eclipse Company Town. In addition to renting, selling and repairing bikes, they usually have ice cream and cold drinks for sale.
Black Diamond Bicycles is at 11325 Jackson Road in the Eclipse Company Town. In addition to renting, selling and repairing bikes, they usually have ice cream and cold drinks for sale.

And of course, we stopped at the Eclipse Company Store for a beer. We both went for Sixth Sense Brewing’s Intuition IPA. Not too hoppy and perfect for sipping on a sunny day. (16-ounce pour was $5; ABV 6.4%)

At Little Fish, I started with a Kalsarikännit Baltic Porter. Great beer. Strange name. It’s Finnish for “drinking alone without pants on,” but rest assured we stayed fully clothed. (12-ounce pour was $4.50; ABV 8.75%). While I loved this porter, it was still summer and I wanted something lighter for my next beer so I switched to a Karman-Fest Vienna Lager (16-ounce pour was $4.50; ABV 6.2%).

We saw several of these signs during our ride to The Eclipse Company Store and Little Fish Brewing Co. Hope Charlie finds his way home ... we'll be keeping an eye out.
We saw several of these signs during our ride to The Eclipse Company Store and Little Fish Brewing Co. Hope Charlie finds his way home … we’ll be keeping an eye out.

The lager went great with the true reason we stopped at Little Fish: to have lunch at their Cajun Clucker food cart. I opted for my usual: crawfish etouffee over fried catfish ($14.75). I was not disappointed.

After eating, we hopped on our bikes and headed home. In all, we rode about 17 miles over 4 hours. I had lunch and three beers during that time. For a more detailed look at our route and peregrinations, click the map below …