Map & Directions Below
By now you know that Lake Hope offers cabins, camping, and a dining lodge in an incredibly beautiful little corner of Vinton County with easy access from both north (Columbus) and west (Cincinnati). You may have discovered the miniature joys of Lake Alma with camping and swimming and easy access to the conveniences of the historic town of Wellston, Ohio. But did you yet discover the Chin of the Serpent - secluded, private, real bed in a 10’ high, 16’ diameter canvas tent with roll up sides? Blue Heron Run is not for you if you are fearful of night noises (fox, owl, coyote, etc.) or made uncomfortable by absolute dark and a sky full up with more stars than you can comfortably count in an evening’s fire sitting. But if you can park on flat, packed gravel (the road is chip and seal) and crave a set up that does not buzz, whoosh, or whir, try BHR on for size.
From your place of repose you will wend to the beginning of the Serpent's Tongue at the intersection of SR 356 & SR 681. If you seek further exploring or adventure (on gravel) go west from there on Rock Camp Road until it meets King Hollow at an old RR bed. Park and walk east, or right (there are metal blocks to keep cars & 4-wheelers off) about 1/4 mile to King Hollow Tunnel. It is featured in our photo album and well worth the hike. Otherwise, head east on SR 681 and set your heart and soul to peacefully cruise the entire length of this wonderful road.
The Tongue extends to the Ohio River and back to Albany and a couple of choices for diner food and desert; The Albany Cafe is located in the old school house behind the library, and Rays Harvest House is on the ramp from 681 to Hwy 50 East. SR 681 to the eastern edge of Ohio is deserted and generally well-paved, though the pavement bucks and ripples at times and passes through winding, scenic, underutilized areas, before dipping crazily into the hills and valleys that lead down to the Ohio River and the tiny town of Reedsville, OH, across from the Belleville Locks and Dam on the Ohio River.
From the intersection of SR 356 and SR 681, go east onto SR 681 E through Albany, OH (historic underground railroad town located 9 miles SW of Athens, OH). Follow SR 681 into the sunrise (metaphorically, if you start too early the sunrise will blind you on hilltop after hilltop) and after passing Darwin, Ohio at the intersection with Hwy 33 you will pass through sweeping curves and one very sharp left in someone's front yard, then continue on to Tupper's Plains and stop for gas or a bite to eat at the local Dairyette or Subway. Staying east on SR 681 you'll descend by indescribably fun unimproved, banked twists and gorgeous turns into the Ohio River Valley at Reedsville (small gas station to the left). Say hello to Tom Reed (yes - those Reeds) who lives in the house just behind the gas station. He has ridden all of these hills through the years, and he'll tell you some stories if you've a mind to listen. Hi Tom!
Stop for gas, or a candy bar, then turn right onto SR 124 along the Ohio River. You'll pass Forked Run State Park (the forked tip of the Serpent's Tongue) and can stop to hike or picnic. Continue on SR 124 around most of the boot of Meigs County and maybe stop to read the Ohio History signs for Buffington Island Memorial Park - the site of the only significant Civil War Battle in Ohio. Then wind through little river towns, and stop for lunch or to look at the Ohio River on the historic riverfront of Pomeroy, Ohio. The town is undergoing some renovations that have added other places to eat and shop. Walk around. Try a burger and a beer at the local live music venue, the Court Street Grill. In the summertime, Pomeroy is home to the Rhythm on the River Blues & Jazz concerts all on a summer’s eve!
The Wild Horse Cafe has outside river seating on their porch - just delightful. When you're done visiting history and chomping a burger or salad, wind your way from the river via Route 7 back onto SR 124 to Rutland. Stay straight in Rutland when SR124 turns to the left. Follow New Lima Rd straight at the stop sign in Harrisonville onto SR 684, then straight again when you meet SR 681 to cruise up to Albany, OH and on to wherever you're planning to rest your head.
ALTERNATE Route back north - from SR 124 turn north onto SR 143 all the way to Hwy 32, then right to Albany for dinner. Both routes have cool features, I prefer the other that intersects SR 143, but have enjoyed them both, hooboy!
Depending on stops and alternate adventures, this is about 104 miles of swaying, undulating pavement that will take you about 2 hours and 35 minutes to tour. You’ve slid over and around on the Serpent's Tongue and you've earned a moment of repose! BHR for romance, star-gazing, and glamping call!
Turn by Turn Directions:
Start at intersection of SR 356 & SR 681
East on SR 681 E
Right in Reedsville SR 124 S
Pause in Pomeroy, then hop on SR 124 to Rutland (off of Rt 7 at the gas station)
Straight in Rutland onto New Lima Rd (or go off script and stay on SR 124 through Wilkesville and beyond - you are wending your way onto the Serpent’s Coil and can plot your own adventure from here!)
Straight in Harrisonville onto SR 684
Straight after Pageville onto SR 681 to Albany.
Albany Cafe in old school building behind Library - 5196 Washington Rd
104 miles - 2 hours 35 min.