In the great area of Athens, Ohio this fall, there’s plenty to see and do, whether you’re an Ohio University student, a local, or a tourist. Fall is a great opportunity to spend time outside before the freezing winter sets in and you’re stuck in your Ohio University housing rental for a few months! Here are seven outdoor fall activities near Athens for you to enjoy.

1. Wayne National Park

The only national park in Ohio, Wayne National Park is an idyllic spot for many of those who enjoy a walk in the park or a camping trip out under the stars. It’s a patchwork of public land that stretches over 160,000 acres. With this much land at your disposal, you could spend plenty of time exploring without getting bored. Additionally, the variety of terrain in the park is a great opportunity for visitors of all different ages to enjoy the activities it has to offer.

3. Hocking Hills

Hocking Hills is described as Ohio’s Crown Jewel when it comes to locations to visit. With a variety of trails and parks to explore, this outdoor excursion will keep you entertained no matter how many times you go to visit. It’s an outdoor destination that offers more than 10,000 acres of forests with a variety of activities. 

Hocking Hills boasts everything from rock climbing, horseback riding, kayaking, and even fishing; without a doubt there is a lot to do. Visiting will give you the chance to be at one with nature and spend a day, or even a weekend, away to have fun in the fresh air near Athens.

4. The Ridges Cemetery Nature Walk

Although it may sound a little spooky, the Ridges Cemetery Nature Walk is quite the opposite. There are many beautiful spots to take advantage of when it comes to this nature walk, whether you’re on the lookout for nest warblers and bluebirds, or wanting to discover various wood types like maple, hickory, and walnut.

The 1.3-mile trail begins near the Dairy Barns Arts Center and makes its way through the fields that once surrounded the Athens Lunatic Asylum. For those wanting a scarier experience, you can walk by three cemeteries where former residents were buried!

5. Train Rides in Hocking Valley

If you’re not one for nature trails and instead prefer to kick your feet back, the train rides in Hocking Valley are probably more suited to you. The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway has a lot of history to it; the train rides are led by volunteers who operate weekend train excursions from Nelsonville. This service has been operating for forty years and is a must for anyone who hasn’t tried it yet. They offer a fine dining experience aboard the train, too, meaning you can enjoy the sights and scenery of Hocking Hills while eating some wonderful dishes for an outdoor fall activity near Athens.

6. Strouds Run State Park

The Strouds Run State Park is located in Canaan Township in Athens County. It spans over 2,606 acres and includes Dow Lake, which is an artificial body of water. It’s a great way to spend time outdoors, especially for those who are looking to escape work or school and relax. It’s a relatively quiet park, so you can enjoy this pocket of nature in peace.

7. Athens Year Round Farmers Market

The Athens Year Round Farmers Market runs year round, every Saturday from 9am-12pm. If you’re someone who loves supporting the local community and enjoys artisan food, you’ll certainly want to head on down to this market when you have a free Saturday morning. It’s rated one of the best markets in Ohio and offers a great selection of high-quality products.

From meats, cheese, fruits, pies, pastries, jellies, and preserves, there’s enough of a variety to do most of your weekly shopping if needed. Ask for samples so that you can enjoy the full flavors of this market as you select what products you want to buy.

8. Sells Park

Last but not least is Sells Park. If you want to spend some time outside but don’t want to travel too far to do it, then Sells Park will certainly satisfy your need for fresh air and wildlife. There are several short hiking trails available, and it connects with the Strouds Run State Park trail system, meaning you can kill two birds with one stone and visit both parks in one trip.

As summer comes to a close, make the effort to take full advantage of the outdoor fall activities near Athens. Make sure you check out some of these activities mentioned above. Regardless of what you end up doing, you’re sure to have fun and make new memories.

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