ATHENS, HOCKING VALLEY
Another route between Chillicothe and Athens (US 50) passes through the picturesque small town of McArthur, the seat of Vinton County (historic buildings, cafés). Go north out of McArthur and then head east on a county road, across a high, treeless ridge with long views of farmland and forested hills, to the tiny, remote village of Zaleski (GPS: 1234345565 W, 1234455656 N).
On the edge of the village, on the grounds of a State Forest Headquarters, stands one of Ohio’s most beautiful mounds. Its elegant profile is gracefully ringed by a gravel path and a circle of young trees; adjacent is a small memorial to veterans.
While in the Zaleski area, inquire about the Moonville Tunnel (a bit northeast from the village), built for a now-abandoned nineteenth-century railroad line. It is one of many in the region, but is now unique both for its accessibility and the appeal of its associated local legends.
To reach Athens, return to US-50 and head east via Albany.