The Athens-Zaleski Lizard Map features public lands, preserves, state parks, national forests, lakes and trails, printed on waterproof paper, to guide people in exploring the best recreation that the Athens, Nelsonville and Zaleski region has to offer.
Our maps are big! 24 x 36 inches, beautifully designed and easy to read. Highly detailed with contour lines, shaded relief, hydrography, local roads and place names.
What's on the map? Athens, of course, and Ohio University. The entire Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, all 18 miles of it from Athens to Nelsonville. Plus the Hockhocking Rver that runs alongside it. A big chunk of Wayne National Forest, all of Lake Hope and Strouds Run State Park with their extensive mountain bike, equestrian and backpacking trail systems. And Moonville, we couldn't forget about Moonville! Plus every backroad, byway and highway that connects all these great places together.
If you've never been to the Athens, Ohio region you are missing out on some fantastic trails. Trail running is fantastic in this area. Hikers have a lot of foot-only options in Zaleski State Forest and Lake Hope and Strouds Run State Parks, as well as several Preserves in the surrounding area. Mountain bikers enjoy an incredible network of nested loops in Lake Hope and Strouds Run State Parks, as well as the Hockhocking Adena 18-mile bikeway between Athens and Nelsonville. Road bikers and gravel riders enjoy a massive network of paved and gravel roads in the surrounding area, including the fantastic Moonville Rail Trail. If you think Ohio is flat you haven't been to Athens! These hills may be short but they are incredibly steep. Athens made it in Bicycling Magazines Top 100 Climbs in America - come on over and see what a 24% grade feels like! Equestrians have a comprehensive trail system, well marked with color blazes, that winds throughout the hollows of southern Zaleski State Forest. There is even a dedicated Horse Camping Area to base out of.
The Zaleski State Forest Backpacking Trail is among the most popular in the state. It has three loops that are roughly 10 miles each, depending on how you enter and exit you can do a 10, 20 or 30+ mile trip with designated group campsites that have latrines and water. Not having to carry water makes this a great trip for all ages.
Athens is the cultural nucleus of this area with a charming historic downtown and Ohio University. The Hocking River meanders around the town, with the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway a central part of this outdoor-oriented community. Here is sample weekend for you to consider:
Start your day in downtown Athens at Bagel Street Deli for breakfast and explore the campus and bikeway by foot, bicycle or rollerblade. If you are up for a long ride, pedal yourself to Nelsonville on the Bikeway which wanders along the river and through the forest on a relatively flat, paved 18 mile path. In Nelsonville stop at FullBrooks Cafe in the historic Public Square.
Into bicycles? Athens has two full-service bike shops - stop in at Cycle Path or Athens Bicycle and see what they have in stock. Both of these shops are cyclist-owned, and both are decorated with some rare and beautiful classic bicycles that are sure to make you smile. Plus, of course, a whole bunch of new bikes and accessories to keep you rolling.
Just minutes from downtown Athens you will find Strouds Run State Park where you can pedal, hike or trail run on a seemingly endless network of wooded paths. Rent a canoe, kayak, pedal boat, paddle board or hydro-bike and explore the lake. About 30 minutes away is Lake Hope State Park, where you will find similar options nestled in the middle of Zaleski State Forest, which is the second-largest State Forest in Ohio with 28,000 acres waiting for you to explore. Tent camping and cabin rentals are available at each State Park if you just can't leave.
By now you are hungry and thirsty! Once again, Athens has you covered. Casa Nueva Restaurant and Cantina is a local institution. Casa is a hip, worker-owned co-op (since 1985!) featuring Mexican-inspired food, vegan and gluten-free options plus live music. You may never leave. But you should - if only to sample three other amazing watering holes: West End Ciderhouse, Devil's Kettle Brewing and the Little Fish Brewing Company.
West End Ciderhouse features farmhouse style hard cider and mead made in-house with all-natural ingredients from local farms and orchards. They specialize in craft cocktails with fresh squeezed juices, house-made infusions, and fine spirits. Devil's Kettle Brewing is just up the road where you can enjoy their premium ales and lagers in a hand-crafted taproom. Then top it off with Little Fish Brewing Company, where you can taste their beautiful farmhouse ales made with organic and local hops and grains. Little Fish is also conveniently located just off the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway!
So there you have it - grab your Purple Lizard Athens, Zaleski and Lake Hope Map and head for the hills! All you really need to bring is a lot more time than you probably budgeted for, but that's ok, we are pretty sure you will be back for more!
A quote from an article in Dirt Rag: While I don’t want to overstate this, these [Athens] trails are truly outstanding on many levels. Their layout and construction are top notch, and they traverse a landscape studded with beautiful cliffs, coves, and rock formations. There are high ridges, deep ravines, and impressive lake and valley views. The singletrack is fast and flowing and at times rocky and tricky-technical. You will never be bored there.
Health warning: continued use of these maps may result in an inability to stay indoors and a sudden criticism of traffic. Your skin may become covered with dust and dirt. Mild confusion will make it difficult to relate time and distance, which may alter your definition of weather. There is a potential for all of these side effects to occur simultaneously and without warning. That's why we are warning you now.
All Purple Lizard maps are available flat (rolled up, unfolded) suitable for framing in a corporate lobby or just nailing to a cabin wall. The map cost is the same ($12) but shipping varies. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for specifics.
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