Great Day Hikes:
Length: 3.2 miles one-way; 6.4 miles there & return (5.1 kilometers one-way)
Difficulty: Very easy (Completely accessible)
Location: End of Hamley Run Road, Dover Township; or Glen Ebon Road (County Road 4) at the Hocking River, York Township, Athens County, Ohio
Directions: Take the OH-682 / The Plains exit off US-33, then turn north on OH-682 (left turn if you're going south/east on US-33; right turn if you're going north/west on US-33). Go down the hill and take the next left on River Road, going back under US-33. Go a short distance to the parking area on the right for the bike path. Park here.
Turn onto County Road 4, Glen Ebon Road, from US-33 southeast of Nelsonville. Cross the Hocking River bridge, and park to your left at the bike path. Go to your left on the bike path and do this in reverse.
From the Beaumont parking area, head west (to the left) on the bike path. This is the Hockhocking-Adena Bikeway, named after the Hockhocking River (now the Hocking River), which it follows, and the Adena people, native Americans who once lived in the area. The bike path follows an old railroad grade, so is a very easy walk. It is also open for runners, bicyclists, rollerbladers, and wheelchairs.
First you will be walking between River Road and the Hocking River. Across River Road are farm fields that were once part of the Beamont Swamp. The stream that enters the river here is Lemaster Run. Shortly, the paved road to the left will turn away, and the road to the left will instead be Hamley Run Road, a gravel road. Hamley Run Road, a Dover Township Road, no longer goes to Hamley Run, which you'll cross on this walk, because it was cut off partway.
After River Road ends, the farm fields end and there is instead a forested hillside. After a while, Hamley Run Road will cross the bikeway as the river veers away from it, and then later re-crosses the bikeway when the river again gets close.
The steep hillside along the bikeway from here to Glen Ebon Road is an exceptional place to see wildflowers in the springtime. It is one of the best spring wildflower displays in Athens County. It especially features white trillium and bluebells.
You will pass a small dirt parking area just to the left of the bike path. This is a private parking area. Please do not try to use it. Shortly, you'll come to the end of the road on the left. It's blocked off here. The road grade continues, but is growing up in forest. Where the open road ends, the Bluebell Preserve of the Athens Conservancy begins. This preserve is in two sections, totalling 65 acres. This first section extends about 1/2 mile along the bikeway, and ends just short of the Hamley Run bridge, a large wooden bridge built on an old railroad trestle.
You now cross over a bottomland area with a valley floor to your left, then the hillside starts again. About 3/8 of a mile past the bridge, there is a small stream valley to the left where the second section of the Bluebell Preserve begins. This continues about another 3/8 of a mile to the border of the Wayne National Forest, which extends along the bike path for about another 3/8 of a mile. The last short stretch along the bike path before Glen Ebon Road is private property, except for a narrow strip along the road.
At last, at Glen Ebon Road (County Road 4), there is a very small parking pulloff for the bike path. You may cross the road and continue walking along a very wild stretch of the bike path, which is again in the Wayne National Forest. You may also climb the slopes there to find old strip mines that are unreclaimed but gradually recovering. Acid-loving plants may be found at the old stripmine sites.