“The best of both worlds for hiking in the deep woods close to town.”
— Jeff Gandee
Cave · Lake · Views · Wildlife
Easy terrain on some trails and accessibility to town makes this a great starter area for kids.
Almost the perfect combination of a "deep" woods experience that is easily accessible and easy to get to. I say "almost" because for most of the hike, the traffic noise from the street below is easily heard. That aside it is still an enjoyable experience close to home.
Need to Know
Parking at the Avon Place lot is very limited, and it's not unknown to be full during peak times. Street parking is allowed down the hill in the residential neighborhood but this means a longer hike back to the park to start the trail.
Starting at the parking area at the end of Avon Place in Athens, Ohio, the loop begins on the Athens Trail
, ascending to the intersection of the Sourwood Connector
. Turn right and continue to switchback uphill until you intersect with the Athens Trail
Take a right turn onto the Athens Trail
; here the terrain eases as you are now hiking along a ridgetop. After about a mile, the White Oak Connector Trail
will turn to the right. This one will switchback down in to a large hollow.
At the end of 0.2 miles, the White Oak Connector Trail
deadends at the Rockhouse Trail
. Turn right on the Rockhouse Trail
and begin to wind your way along the base of several large rock formations. There is a bit of a climb out as you regain the elevation lost on the way down to the rock formations, and eventually you regain the ridge and pretty much follow it's winding path back to the parking lot.
Flora & Fauna
We saw a deer, several squirrels, and chipmunks along the way.