Ohio’s Best-Kept Bikeway Secret

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.

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