Home to Ohio University, this college town combines a bookish, academic student and professional lifestyle with a bit of a relaxed recreation driven feel. The population is just over 20,000, most of whom are college students, and the university remains the major employer in the area. Outdoor lovers enjoy the area because there are many state parks and forests close by. Athens is located on and around a ridge in the Hocking River.
Biking, off-roading and horseback riding are all available in or around Athens. Wayne National Forest, the only national forest in the state, is located throughout four counties in the vicinity. Strounds Run State Park has over 2,500 acres of hiking, camping and recreation facilities, and Burr Oak State Park, just northeast of Athens, provides fishing on the lake and lovely hiking trails as well as a resort. In nearby McArthur, Zaleski State Forest covers over 25,000 acres of land and includes Lake Hope which winds through the hills of the forest.
Athens is accessible on U.S. 33 north/south and U.S. 50 east/west. It is 75 miles southeast of Columbus and approximately 45 miles west of Marietta.