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Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, OH

Bloodroot along the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway. Photo by Mary Reed.

Take time this spring to stop and smell the flowers, literally, along the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, a nearly 20-mile paved path that links Athens and Nelsonville, making its way through the Wayne National Forest in between.

This multi-use path is the real deal: while some bike paths run alongside a road or are in the blazing sun, this one is reminiscent of a doubletrack path through the woods, except that it’s fully paved and it has amenities right along the path.

“The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway is the Miles Davis of bike paths. It's smooth and cool,” says John Lefelhocz of Cycle Path bike shop. “It follows the river under a canopy of sycamore, buckeye and paw paw trees as well as many other native species. It winds ever so slightly through farmland, sandstone cliffs and wild flora and fauna.”

Start in the rural, hilly college town of Athens and make your way past sunning students, Japanese cherry trees and community gardens. Ride (or walk, or blade) on to Eclipse, a restored coal mining company town, and then hit the motherlode of wildflowers between miles 10 and 14, where the path goes through patches of the Wayne. Here you’ll see spring wildflowers that include trillium, Virginia bluebell, wild geranium, Dutchman’s breeches and lots more. End up at Robin’s Crossing, a restored pioneer village on the Hocking College campus.

Whatever section you choose, you can’t go wrong. “It's big fun,” says John.

Where it’s at: An hour and a half southeast of Columbus; from US-33 in Athens, take the East State Street exit and travel east a few hundred feet to the Athens Community Center and skate park

Contact: Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau or 800-878-9767

Grub: Jana’s Café, at mile 7.1 in Eclipse Company Town, serves local and organic food, or (740) 797-3060; the Catalyst Café, at mile 3.6 in Athens, serves coffee, shakes and sweets, or (740) 249-4250

Digs: Strouds Run State Park (campsites $17/night), (740) 592-2302; Sand Ridge Bed and Breakfast ($110/night), or (740) 797-4701

Gear and support: Cycle Path, or (740) 593-8482; Athens Bicycle, or 866-594-9944