10 Places to Explore in and Around Athens

If you’re anything like me, fall semester is well-here and you’re already swamped with school work, work work, and trying to find time to relax.

If there’s anything I’ve learned, however, it’s how important it is to find those moments, even if just a few minutes, you need to take for yourself to relax, regroup, and recharge.

So if you have some time, whether an hour or an afternoon, venture to these beautiful, pristine places that exist in and around Athens - it’ll be sure to change your day:

 

View to Radar Hill. Photo: Google.com

Hills

If you’re looking to stay local, Athens offers Radar Hill, Bong Hill, Witches Hill, and Sell’s Park for private escapes.

Radar Hill is a short hike behind the Ridges to the highest point in Athens — a must-see for all Bobcats. It’s perfect for an afternoon workout and as an isolated spot to stargaze at night.

The popular Bong Hill and sister-hill Witches Hill both sit alongside Route 33/50, facing South Green.  Bong Hill is a short but steep climb and Witches Hill is known for its boulders. To get there, head east on Stimson Avenue, take a right onto County Road 25, then a left onto Long Run Road. As you drive under Route 33/50, Bong Hill will be on your left and Witches Hill will be on your right.

For a truly secluded escape, check out Sell’s Park. There’s a small pond and a handful of trails ranging in length and difficulty. To get there, take Avon Place off of East State Street. Avon Place dead ends into the park.

 

Photo: athensohio.com

Parks

A few minutes north of Athens sits Strouds Run State Park. With so many things to do — hiking, swimming, kayaking — Strouds is a Bobcat’s favorite getaway. The viewpoint of the entire lake, however, might just be the best part. Vista Point provides a beautiful overlook of the park, and at just 1.5 miles to get there, it’s worth the view.

 

Photo: buckeyetrailfest.org

Lake Hope State Park in Vinton County is a natural beauty with a rich history of mining and iron industries, including the Hope Furnance. Lake Hope is part of the greater Zaleski State Forest, and like Strouds, you can boat, fish, swim, and explore miles of trails.

Hocking Hills

If you’re looking to get out of Athens, travel North to Hocking Hills. Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, and Conkle’s Hollow are among the most popular sites.

Old Man’s Cave has five sections along the valley of Old Man’s Creek: Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls and Lower Gorge. As water has drizzled down the cave walls year after year, the outside layers have been carved away and visitors get a glimpse inside Earth’s beautiful rocks.

 

Photo: touring-ohio.com

 

Ash Cave is noted as the largest, most recessive cave in the state. It’s a quick, one-fourth mile trail to reach the cave tucked away in the woods. It’s been used as a place for camp and township meetings, Sunday worship services, and engagement photos.

Conkle’s Hollow has a deep, cool gorge, tall sandstone cliffs, and a handful of waterfalls. Visitors can expect unique habitats, from the gorge on the ground floor to the viewpoints atop the cliffs.

 

Photo: hockinghills.com

Moonville Tunnel

And finally, if you’re looking for somewhere historic and maybe a little spooky, visit the Moonville Tunnel, located close to Lake Hope in Vinton County. The tunnel housed trains in the 1800s, and is supposedly haunted by someone who was ran over by the train. There’s multiple legends about the Moonville Ghost, but if you go, you might just find out the truth for yourself.

 

 

Photo: hauntedhocking.com

Have a favorite getaway spot I missed? Tweet at us @hercampusohiou!