ATHENS, HOCKING VALLEY
THE HOCKING HILLS REGION
The main route into southeastern Ohio from Columbus or Lancaster (US 33) passes through the Hocking Hills tourism region. Logan is the main headquarters for exploring among the many scenic and recreational opportunities of the greater Hocking River valley. Nine state parks encompass a variety of natural wonders including large overhanging cliffs and waterfalls, caves, and nature preserves.
A bit farther south along US-33 is Nelsonville, whose well-preserved town square is the setting for many festival and arts events, plus a fine restaurant (see below). The nearby train station is headquarters for the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad, run by volunteer railroaders and a main attraction of the county. Hocking College nearby operates Robbins Crossing, a collected village of 1850s log cabins that gives the flavor of 19th Century life in the region.
Along US-33 between Nelsonville and Athens is the headquarters of the Wayne National Forest, an excellent resource for learning about the history and ecology of the region, and for getting oriented to miles of hiking trails throughout the region. The Forest is divided between Athens and Marietta sections, and superb maps are available at the Visitors Center.