The Serpent's Spine and Tail
Map & Directions Below
Well, the Spine of the Serpent must needs lie along SR 56 from Athens, OH (homemade beer - Little Fish Brewery) all the way to Laurelville, OH (homemade donuts- the Ridge Inn). Or maybe it makes better sense to come from the other direction. Either way, this little piece of heaven runs right along the southern edge of the Hocking Hills, cross (carefully!) at the stop sign on SR 93 and take the next left and stay right onto Locust Grove CR 23 down to Le Petit Chevalier Vineyards for a glass of wine, a gander around, and take a bottle or two with you for your evening. Just after the vineyard, turn right onto Siverly Creek for a jaunt, then left onto Goosecreek Rd .
You'll pass the Mount Olive Rd covered bridge at the intersection with Mount Olive Rd. Take a picture. Instagram it. Continue on Goosecreek all the way to Hwy 50 at Allensville, OH. Go right on Hwy 50 and right again on SR 671 (a technical, windy marvel of engineering through hills and forest - it's said the locals sweep the road on Saturday mornings so that the motorbikes can race without loose gravel) and again right onto SR 327 past Tar Hollow State Forest. This is the Serpent's Tail - and where did you think all that tar came from in Tar Hollow, anyway? Think really big serpent litter box.
At SR 180 turn right to follow it into Laurelville, and stay left to find the homemade donuts at The Ridge Inn. Then follow SR 180 east to SR 374 S, then right on SR 664 back to SR 56. Stop at Jimbo’s for a burger, or keep cruising east or left past Ash Cave and some of the prettiest Serpent's Bones in the area. Take it slow. Enjoy. Not far from South Bloomingville but before Ash Cave, on the north side of the road is a small pull-off with a year-round spring. Stop. Take a drink. Fill a bottle. You will never leave now that you have tasted of the sacred spring.
Ok, you might leave, but you'll be thinking of the area and deciding to come back.
You're on your own from here. Back to your private, secluded, glamping camp at Blue Heron Run, or to Lake Hope, or maybe a cabin in the Hocking Hills. You've experienced the Serpent's Spine, and might even decide to add another route to this one as you meander across the Serpent's Wings or the Serpent's Horns.
Vinton County is Ohio's Last Frontier!
Turn by Turn Directions:
SR 56 W from Athens/Little Fish Brewery
Cross (carefully!) SR 93
1st Left onto Locust Grove Rd (CR 23)
Sharp Right on Siverly Creek Rd (CR 19)
Sharp Left onto Goosecreek Rd (CR 18)
Right in Allensville onto Hwy 50 W
Right SR 671 W
Right SR 327 N (past Tar Hollow)
Right SR 180 into Laurelville (the Ridge Inn has fresh donuts on the weekend!)
Stay on SR 180 east
Right on SR 374 south
Right on SR 664 south
Left SR 56 to Ash Cave & wherever else you desire
About 84 miles and a little over 2 hours (without donuts or craft brew)