Sells Park in Athens, Ohio is a city park that features the Sells Park Nature Trail, also known as the Athens Trail. This roughly circular route has many other trails diverging from it, and connects with surrounding parks and trails such as Stroud's Run, Riddle State Nature Park and the Finger Rock Trail. The Sells Nature Trail trailhead lies up a small incline with steps, a few yards from the parking area at the end of Avon Place. Avon Place is a short dead end street off of East State Street in the middle of the business district. Once you begin the trail, you and your pup can forget how close you are to the bustle of town, and focus on the dense foliage and small critters and birds you encounter as you walk.
The trail is narrow and leaf-covered in most parts, and you'll find massive boulder outcroppings covered with lichen, moss and ferns, some with 2 or 3 boulders balanced atop one another. Intermittently through the trees you'll be treated to lovely views of the hills surrounding Athens, along with a charming lily pond encased in grasses and trees adjacent to the trail. Open year round, the trail's views after the leaves have fallen in the fall are particularly panoramic.
After circling the pond, you'll see a trail on the left that requires some steep climbing and boulder scrambling to get to lookout point high above Athens. This quick but intense workout is well worth the view, however. Heading back to the main trail, just follow the white A-shaped symbols in red triangles around the perimeter of the 22-acre park and back to East State Street. and the Community Center near Avon Place that features restrooms and water if you need them. Benches nestled under trees all along the trail provide rest and reflection or the pawrfect spot for a snack or lunch.
For locals and visiting people and pups alike, the Sells Nature Park Trail is a short trip from anywhere in Athens, and a pleasant escape from life's hustle and bustle.
Part of this trail is steep and along a rocky ridge. Wear good hiking boots with a traction tread to avoid slides and turned ankles. Mountain bikers can use this trail, so keep an eye out for them and keep Fido securely leashed and on the side of the trail.