Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Athens

Fall is a great time to visit Athens. In fact, it may be the best time to visit: the air is cool and crisp, autumn-inspired dishes fill the local restaurants, and of course, the tree-covered Appalachian foothills put on a spectacular show of color. No wonder USA Today identified Athens as one of the ten best places to see fall foliage this year. Here’s the insider’s guide to the best places for autumn color.

Radar Hill. Stroll along a short, one-mile trail at The Ridges and you’ll see why Radar Hill is a beloved place among locals, students and visitors alike. Radar Hill is the highest point in Athens and the well-maintained trail features a forested area that opens up to a sweeping field of trees, shrubs and grasses. The trail to Radar Hill is seconded only to the view once you get to the top.

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Ohio University’s College Green. There’s something about bricks and autumn leaves that just go so well together. Nowhere else in the state do these two elements co-mingle so perfectly as they do on the campus of Ohio University. The College Green is filled with history, dotted with stunning trees, and easily accessible from Uptown Athens.

Hockhocking Adena Bikeway. This 21-mile bike path weaves along the Hocking River from Athens to Nelsonville. Along the way you’ll encounter wetlands, fields and forests filled with fall color. Make a day of it and bike the entire route. Visit Nelsonville’s Historic Public Square for a break and a bite to eat before heading back to Athens.

Sells Park. Sells Park has long been a favorite outdoor destination for Athens County residents. It’s easy to see why: tucked quietly in the hills with over 21 miles of trails for hiking or mountain biking, it’s the perfect spot for an afternoon of outdoor fun.

800px-Dow_Lake_at_Strouds_Run_State_Park_in_Mid_OctoberDow Lake. Right next to Sells is Strouds Run State Park and Dow Lake. Rent a boat or a kayak and view fall color from the water. With 166 acres of surface area, you’ll find many places to explore. Or why not take it easy and enjoy a picnic while watching the water lap the shore from a nearby table.

Wayne National Forest. The only National Forest in Ohio, the Wayne encompasses nearly 250 million acres of land. With 300 miles of trail that you can hike, ride or bike, you can experience fall at your own pace and with a variety of transportation methods.

Gifford State Forest. Ohio’s smallest state forest still packs a big punch in terms of fall foliage. Filled with rich wooded areas and a manageable trail system, it’s the perfect destination for an easy post-lunch hike.


Make Athens your destination for a relaxing fall weekend away and check out one of our cozy cabins or B&Bs. See you in Athens soon!