Parks and National Forests

Adventures in the Hills!
Whether you’re interested in hiking, hunting, fishing, kayaking, rock climbing or just relaxing, there’s a park for every mood and every outdoor enthusiast in Athens County.

Strouds Run State Park

Strouds Run offers campers a family camp area with sites for tents or trailers with a 150-person capacity. Several mounds and ancient fortifications were found in this area by early settlers telling us that the Adena Indians once lived here.

Wayne National Forest

The Wayne National Forest is located in the hills of southeastern Ohio. In the heart of the heavily populated midwest, this small National Forest covers a quarter million acres of Appalachian foothills.

Guide to Hunting and Fishing in Athens County

Where to hunt? Burr Oak State Park Fox Lake WLA Gifford State Forest O’Dowd WLA Poston Plant Lands (AEP): Permit Required Strouds Run State Park Trimble WLA– Now part of O’Dowd WLA Waterloo WLA Wayne National Forest (ATV): Permit Required Lake Hope State Park Zaleski State Forest Where to shop? Outback Jack’s Tradin’ Post Rocky View

The Ridges Trails

Far from the shadows cast by buildings of the former Athens Lunatic Asylum, the nearly 700 acres that make up The Ridges property of Ohio University reflect the kind of place the mental hospital really was.

Picnic Places

The rolling hills of Southeast Ohio make the perfect backdrop for a picnic!  Here are a few of our favorite locations: Burr Oak State Park features over twenty-five miles of scenic hiking trails, picnic tables, grills, 500 feet of sandy beach, and a shelter house for the public use. Lake Hope State Park, located in View

The Athens Skate Park

Designed and constructed by award winning Grindline Skate Parks, Inc of Seattle, the skate park boasts a 16’ diameter full pipe with capsule, an 8’ vertical wall, a 7’ hallway, and 5’ tight radius pocket.

Burr Oak State Park

Burr Oak State Park features over twenty-five miles of scenic hiking trails, picnic tables, grills, 500 feet of sandy beach, and a shelter house for the public use.

Hocking Hills State Park

The scenery is simply dazzling: deep craggy gorges carry hikers down hundreds of feet along gorgeous scenic trails; waterfalls cascade over soaring ledges.

Lake Snowden

Lake Snowden is a full-service camp ground located only a few miles outside of Athens. The scenery provides a great environment for all of your outdoor camping pursuits.

The Ridges Cemeteries & State Mental Hospital

On January 9, 1874, a state-of-the-art psychiatric hospital opened on the Ridges in Athens. Originally named The Athens Lunatic Asylum, the institution featured grandiose buildings surrounded by elaborate landscaping with ponds, fountains, and parks.

The Ridges Trails

Trail options include a Ridges Cemeteries Nature Walk, developed by the local chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness, which winds through several cemeteries located on the grounds of the former asylum.

Waterloo Wildlife Area

Waterloo is home to more than 80 species of birds. Visitors can hike, fish in one of three ponds, and hunt in season.

Zaleski State Forest

The Zaleski State Forest Backpack Trail was established on the forest to provide backpacking opportunities as well as to introduce some scenic and historic aspects of the forest.

Desonier (Marie J.) Nature Preserve

Located in the southeastern corner of Athens County, the Desonier Nature Preserve offers 491 acres with a variety of habitats typical of Appalachian Ohio.

Fox Lake Wildlife Area

This 421-acre wildlife area lies four miles west of Athens. County and township roads provide access from U.S. Route 50 and State Routes 56 and 681. The boat launching ramp is reached from County Road 81 at the upper end of the lake.

Gifford State Forest

Gifford State Forest is the smallest of Ohio’s state forests, at 320 acres, but offers some very pleasant hunting and hiking opportunities in the scenic northern edge of Athens County.

Hocking Hills Adventure Trek

All treks are led by expert guides. Exploring nature with a professional guide is a completely different kind of experience.

Sells Park

When you arrive at Sells Park, a small pond greets you after you walk up an easy hill. Benches tucked away in the trees give you the perfect spot to pause for some reflection.

Lake Hope State Park

Lake Hope State park is truly a nature lover’s dream; in the forest-draped hills, the observant visitor can discover the abundant natural resources of this wild and scenic park.

Moonville Tunnel Trail

Located deep in Zaleski Forest in Ohio near Lake Hope State Park, the Moonville Tunnel is all that remains from a small mining town that existed in the late 1850s. The Moonville Tunnel lies just across Raccoon Creek.