Exploring Athens, Ohio: A Deep Dive into its Trail Network
Nestled within the serene backdrop of Athens, Ohio is a treasure trove for cycling enthusiasts. The intertwining trail network, predominantly stretching around Sells Park and Strouds Run State Park, offers a brilliant mosaic of terrains, views, and challenges. Drawing from varied riders' experiences, there's a lot to unravel about these trails.
Trail Entry & Initial Steps
Start from E. State Street in Athens and proceed north on Avon Street. This leads directly to the parking area of Sells Park, a renowned city park. Adjacent to a quaint pond above the parking zone, one can locate the trailheads initiating numerous biking journeys.A favorite route, as suggested by several cyclists, commences to the right of the pond. Upon taking a right and covering approximately 60 yards, a left turn leads to the Rockhouse Trail. Pacing past multiple trails, a notable turn left over a bridge lands one on the Cucumbertree Trail. The journey continues until encountering the White Oak Connector, which gradually ascends beneath a captivating rock face, eventually meeting the Athens Trail.
Trail Features & Decision Points
- Route Diversifications: At the intersection with the Athens Trail, riders are presented with options. One can either:
- Continue on the Athens Trail which eventually emerges near the terminus of E. State Street.
- Opt for a shorter route, taking a right, then a subsequent left after a steep climb, landing on the Finger Rock Trail leading to Dow Lake in Strouds Run State Park.
- Revert to the initial starting point by navigating the Athens trail downhill.
- Trail Characteristics:
- Predominantly narrow singletrack laced with roots and rocks.
- Majority of the trails roll downhill from the Athens trail, with uphills often demanding a bit of walking.
- Paw Paw stands out with its impressive jumps while White Oak is marked by its sharp end descending to Rockhouse.
- Rockhouse Trail offers a memorable experience in either direction but shines when taken clockwise.
- Trail Maintenance & Guidance: The entire trail system is meticulously looked after. Clear trailhead markers assist riders in navigation. For a comprehensive route overview, enthusiasts often refer to the Athens Bike Clubs website's "suggested rides" section.
Rider Reflections & Suggestions
For those frequenting these trails, the consensus revolves around the sheer quality of the experience:
- Emphasis on the intricate balance of technical climbs complemented by swift and exhilarating rock sections.
- Maintenance is lauded for its consistency year-round.
- For additional biking needs, Athens Bicycle on Stimson Ave is the go-to destination.
- By integrating with the Strouds Run State Park trails, one can achieve an expansive 20-mile loop.
Covering a distance of 12 miles and graded at an intermediate level, the trail network enveloping Athens, Ohio, stands as a testament to nature and nurture combined. Whether it's the exhilarating descents, the picturesque outcroppings, or the sheer variety of routes available, it's a biking escapade that promises repeat visits and evergreen memories.