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A Symbol of Friendship Blooms in Athens

Scenes of the Cherry Blossom trees in bloom along the Hocking River in Athens, Ohio on April 7, 2022. [Photograph by Joel Prince]

And suddenly you know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of…New Beginnings. -Author Unknown.

Spring is here, which means dusting off your picnic basket for a picnic under the breathtaking Japanese Cherry Blossoms at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The explosion of delicate pale pink flowers is a symbol of peace, tranquility, and friendship.

Scenes of the Cherry Blossoms in bloom along the Hocking River in Athens, Ohio on April 7, 2022. [Photograph by Joel Prince]
Scenes of the Cherry Blossom trees in bloom along the Hocking River in Athens, Ohio on April 7, 2022.[Photograph by Joel Prince]

These stunning cherry blossom trees line the HockHocking Adena Bikeway along the Hocking River bank and campus. You can expect the blooms to begin between the end of March to the middle of April. The breathtaking blossoms last for one week, but if the temperatures are cool enough, they may last up to two weeks.

As you are standing under the trees’ blossoms, take in a deep breath to catch their faint yet pleasing smell. Some say you can catch a hint of vanilla, rose, and lilac. Others have noticed a sweet smell like fruit. No matter the exact smell you are guaranteed to feel refreshed inside and out.

Experience a unique view of the blooms in the late evening as they are illuminated across from Wren baseball stadium. The light shines on and through the blooms leaving a beautiful ambiance setting to enjoy with anyone.

In 1979 President Kazoo Yamada of Chubu Institute of Technology presented 175 Japanese Cherry Trees to Ohio University in honor of the college’s 175th Anniversary and recognition of the exchange program between Chuba University and Ohio University. Chubu University gifted more trees to the university in 2004, celebrating its bicentennial.

Cherry blossoms in Athens, Ohio
The Cherry Blossom trees along the Hocking River and Hockhocking Adena Bikeway in Athens, Ohio on April 9, 2019.[Photograph by Joel Prince]

Today 218 majestic cherry trees adorn the grounds allowing the students, community, and visitors to enjoy them. The trees represent the strong and growing relationship between the sister universities.

According to Ohio University’s Ohio News, the trees are cared for by Ohio’s Ground Services and landscape. They add to the grove each year in a tree loss and replacement cycle. The pattern of continual replacement preserves a healthy stand as opposed to having a group of trees decline at the same time due to their age.

National Geographic named Athens in 2019 as one of the best places in the nation to see cherry blossoms.

The cherry blossoms are just part of the beauty of spring throughout the area. Phenomenal displays of beauty and rebirth are abundant and provide the perfect picture while biking the path. Mile marker 12 is where you will find Athens Conservancy Bluebell Preserve showcasing wild Virginia bluebells, blue-eyed Mary, and radiant trilliums. These wildflowers peak around mid-April. The preserve is also accessible by nearby parking.

Cherry blossoms along the Hocking River
Cherry Blossom trees along the Hocking River in Athens, Ohio on April 8, 2018.[Photograph by Joel Prince]

For information on the blooming, visit Ohio University’s web page, Cherry Blossoms at Ohio University. Visitors may park at metered parking near Peden Stadium and the Convocation Center on campus (or for free on weekends). 

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