Five Best Hikes in Athens

With the weather starting to cool down, October is a great time to get outside and explore Athens!

Hiking is not a strenuous activity, but it definitely still “counts” as a workout. These hikes are all great to do with friends if you can pull together a group or alone if you’re looking for some quiet time for yourself.

1. The Ridges

photo from Hannah Klein

This spooky collection of buildings formerly known as the Athens Lunatic Asylum is best known for its ghost sightings and scary stories. The Ridges are located behind Peden Stadium and across the river via the Richland Avenue round about. If you go during the day, make sure to stop by the Kennedy Museum of Art and if you go at night, watch out!

2. Radar Hill

photo from

Technically still located in The Ridges, Radar Hill is a fairly easy hike. To find the peak, follow Water Tower Drive past the cemetery and walk about 3/4 of a mile until you get to a fork in the road, then turn right. The top of the hill is flat and a great place for a picnic, and if it’s a clear day you can even see campus!

3. Bong Hill

photo from The Post

Even though the name is pretty suggestive, Bong Hill is a perfectly innocent hike. Pass Sonic on Stimson Avenue then turn right on Rock Riffle until you see a dirt path on your left, then climb! This path starts off steep but the view of campus is worth the walk. Ask any alumni what their favorite place to watch the sunset was and they’ll tell you: Bong Hill. Make sure to put this on your Bobcat bucket list!

4. Sells Park

photo from

Sells Park is what you think of when you picture a “classic” hike. This beautiful piece of land is at the end of Avon Place off of East State Street and depending on what time of day you visit, you’re likely to see a family of deer roaming around. Each trail is unique and there are several fairly easy walks, as well as some more challenging hikes. A great map of all of the different trails can be found at

5. Dow Lake Dam

photo from Hannah Klein

Last but not least, one of my all time favorite spots in Athens is the swing at Dow Lake Dam. To get to this spot you’ll need a car (or a friend with a car!) to take you to the very end of East State Street past Holzer onto highway 32 and turn left into a parking lot labeled “Strouds Run.” This hike takes you on top of the dam and holds a beautiful view of Dow Lake. Walk to the end of the dam and take a right and you’ll find a path that takes you to a giant swing. This swing is fun for people of every age so if you have younger siblings, make sure to take them during Sibs Weekend!


“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.”

-Mary Davis