Ready for an Autumn adventure? Set out on a drive cruising along the Appalachian Byway of Ohio, a scenic route in southeastern Ohio with views and destinations not to be missed. Discover for yourself why this section of State Route 78 has been honored with awards from the National Scenic Byway Foundation and the regional Eastern Ohio Development Alliance.
There’s no better escape from the city limits than an Autumn drive winding through the beautiful countryside of southeastern Ohio. Whether you’re traveling by motorcycle or car, stop to explore the quaint towns. From the Ohio River Scenic Byway (State Route 7), you can connect with the Appalachian Byway of Ohio, SR78, in Clarington. Or begin your journey from Interstate 77 exit 25 in Caldwell.
In Noble County, you’ll find local favorites like West Street Coffee Bar, Lori’s Family Restaurant and Patty’s Place, known for their mouth-watering daily specials, homemade soups and delectable pies. Looking for a bit of local lore? The Historic Jail Museum, built in 1882, is nestled in an area of beautiful streetlights, businesses and stores in historic downtown Caldwell. It’s just two blocks from the Ball-Caldwell House, which dates back to 1832. Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Continue the journey along the Byway to the Big Muskie Bucket at Jesse Owens State Park, an ode to the region’s roots in coal mining. Big Muskie was the largest dragline ever built — a true engineering marvel. Today, only the oversized bucket remains, perfect for fun photo ops.
Autumn is also a great time to explore southeast Ohio’s amazing woodlands. Wolf Run State Park offers more than 1,000 acres of scenic, peaceful woodlands for a quiet getaway nestled in the heart of Appalachia. The hills, caverns and trails of Wayne National Forest, the only national forest in Ohio, boasts 340 miles of trails open to hiking, backpacking and horseback riding. Enjoy the sounds of the rippling water while kayaking or canoeing.
Great local options like Piatt Park in Monroe County also offer unique hiking and camping options. You will also find Monroe’s Piatt Park with great hiking and waterfalls. In Woodsfield, experience the Hollister-Perry House Museum or restaurants like Traditions in the historic downtown.
For avid hunters, Ohio offers some of the best whitetail deer hunting in the country. Hundreds of acres of public and private hunting lands attract hunters (and shutterbugs) from all over. The Appalachian Hills Wildlife Area, dissected by numerous small streams, is rolling to rugged and populated by white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbit, wild turkey, pheasants and ruffed grouse.
The Appalachian Foothills Fall Festival brings the Heritage Park at the Noble County Fairgrounds to life in conjunction with the Old Iron Power Club show the third weekend in September. Visit the one-room schoolhouse, church, log cabin and recently restored covered bridge in Heritage Park.
Enjoy a show at one of the region’s iconic theaters. The Twin City Opera House in McConnelsville has been in operation since 1892 (and is rumored to be haunted). The historic Monroe Theatre in downtown Woodsfield, which first opened its doors in 1939, is being restored and is ready to welcome new visitors under its brightly lit, Instagram-worthy marquee. Enjoy classic and first-run movies as well as live theater and entertainment.
There’s so much to see in Nelsonville in Athens County along the Byway too. Stuart’s Opera House is the cornerstone of the historic Nelsonville public square. The historic 1879 theater has been a part of this southeast Ohio town since the boom times of coal mining in the 19th century. Break away from your routine, experience something new and leave with a story to tell.
For more information about this area, check these websites: Appalachian Byway of Ohio – go.osu.edu/abo; Things to do in Noble County – visitnoblecountyohio.com; Discover Monroe County – monroecountyohio.com/visitors/tourism/index.php; Visit Morgan County Ohio – visitmorgancountyohio.com; and Athens County Ohio – https://athensohio.com/.
Edited by Gwynn Stewart with portions adapted with permission from Escape to Ohio’s Countryside by Jill Ross.
Find an Autumn Escape Along the Appalachian Byway of Ohio