The Ridges and River Valley Nature Trails
ElevationAscent: 267' 81 m
Descent: -267' -81 m
High: 902' 275 m
Low: 704' 214 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)
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“This trail provides a peaceful run through some of the rolling hills, fields, and forest in Athens, Ohio.”— Rachel B
The first part of the trail is made of a mixture of gravel and the crushed pieces of old university buildings which were torn down. There are also some alternate routes you can take on this section of the trail to extend your run by following the paths of cut grass which connect to the trail at two points. When you reach a fork in the gravel path, turn left to run up Radar Hill for a view of the city of Athens.
Once you descend Radar Hill, you'll find yourself on the River Valley Nature Trail / Radar Hill Connector trail, which is a short segment composed of cut grass until you reach the forest. Once you enter the forest you'll be on the River Valley Nature Trail, which is a singletrack packed dirt trail until you get back to the ridges. There are some roots and rocks to navigate around, but nothing really difficult. It is important to note that this section of the trail can be extremely slippery if it has rained a day or two before your run. On this section of the path you'll come across a parking area which is connected to OH-682 (Whites Mill Road) which has some information on this section of the trail and some of its history.
Finally, you'll follow the Ridges / River Valley Nature Trail Connector back to the ridges trail. Here the trail is once more made of gravel and becomes a doubletrack trail. You'll follow this path until you meet up with the fork leading to Radar Hill. Turn left to go back to the parking lot.
As you travel along this trail, don't be surprised to see cameras or other equipment being used to study the wildlife in the area, as this plot of land is a land lab for the students of Ohio University as well as a running path.
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