State Route 56

With a beautiful, long weekend this Memorial Day, the Sun shining, blue skies and mild weather. It was only fitting to get out and enjoy the Land of the Free. With a last-minute plan of driving State Route 56, the family set out in the Corvette and on motorcycle. We started by cutting down State Route 328. S.R. 328 is quite a nice highway in itself with a great assortment of turns. Soon we merged with State route 56, and took a right to travel toward the west. Shade from the overhanging trees kept the sun at bay. Traveling further down the road, the highway will intersect with State Route 93. State Route 93 bridges the towns of Logan and McArthur. Crossing and continuing west will bring drivers into the Hocking Hills Region and eventually into Laurelville. To read more about driving further northwest, check out our articles on the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway and Big Pine Loop.

corvette driver POV of State Route 56

A Search For Lunch


On our cruising, we decided to go to McArthur, rather than continuing to Laurelville, for ice cream at Main Eatery. To our disappointment they were closed for the holiday. Since we had to find an alternative, our sights were then set for Athens and Larry’s Dawg House, which we traveled US Route 50 to get to. This is a great road as well, with a variety of scenery, from farm land to rock faces, to overhanging trees. Wide, smooth roads for cruising made for a great ride. Taking some side roads to avoid four lane highways, we weaved our way to the Dawg House.

Back To Route 56

After a good lunch we jumped back onto State Route 56 to head home. Through trees and across grasslands, there were some very picturesque scenes to see. My brother and I were intrigued by the old farm homes that we occasionally passed on the trip. With their grand porches and old sandstone foundations, these old houses had style that not many, if any new homes really could achieve. There were many vehicles out enjoying the day. Apart from us we saw many Jeep Wranglers, motorcycles. We even saw another Corvette, which I thought we would see more of, but surprisingly there was only the one.

Corvette and Motorcycle

Get On The Road and Cruise 56


So many of the roads in and around the Hocking Hills are full of sights and adventure. No matter the road, there is always fun to have while cruising in the hills with friends and family. State Route 56 and US Route 50 really are no different. Great roads with easy riding, relatively quiet, especially when keeping to the south (although it isn’t quite as nice of views compared to the Hocking Hills Region to the north). Over all it’s a drive that is worth taking maybe if the driver wants to drive from a cabin in the Hills down to Athens or McArthur. As always, don’t be afraid to explore and discover roads of your own, just be sure to let us know when you’re ready to get out there and ‘Enjoy Nature Topless.’

Zaleski Forest Roads

Not far for the Hocking Hills region, near the small village of Zaleski, Ohio, lies the Zaleski State Forest. This 27,000 acre forest holds roads that are obscure to many who are outside of the local population. Above all, the Zaleski forest roads are all one lane, maintained gravel roads that twist and turn through the heart of these Ohio woodlands. Consequently, tThe roads are an absolute blast to navigate. Drivers will have a thrill of adventure and seclusion, but without being too far from a main road. There will always be a state route to greet explorers at the other end and take them back to civilization.

Ruby on Zaleski Roads

Experience with a Friend


A friend and I went adventuring in the area not long ago. What a blast we had, navigating slopes and turns. Surveying harvested forests and coming across hunter camps made for exciting discoveries. Our HHTR Jeep Wrangler, Ruby, is amazing. The vehicle was cruising over the gravel with ease and straddling mud puddles effortlessly. (Read more articles featuring our beloved red Jeep in our last article, Big Pine Loop).

The Southern Ohio Forest Rally is held in Zaleski and the city McArthur, Ohio during the summer months. The rally cars will leave McArthur and drive with insane speed down the same Zaleski forest roads that not many people will go down at 35 miles an hour, much less 60 to 100mph. I strongly recommend not going fast down any of these roads because they are unpredictable at times.

Ruby the Jeep with rock faces in background

Interests in the Region


Zaleski State Forest holds some interests that are worth a visit. Lake Hope State Park is a beautiful lake that offers a beach, paddling, cabin rentals, fishing, camping, hiking trails, and a beautiful lodge with some of the best food in the area. Another interest would be the Moonville Tunnel. Find the tunnel on the Moonville Rail Trail outside the ghost town of Moonville. This tunnel is claimed to be haunted by victims of the train that traveled the area back in the 1800s. Zaleski is also home to Waterloo Wildlife Area, which is used to research water habitat, endangered tree species like American Elm, along with other things. Turkey Ridge Wildlife Area is an area that is used to protect the wild turkey population.

An old iron furnace is at the head of the Zaleski backpacking trails. It speaks a story of the area’s past, and what it took to live here. Other backpack trailheads are scattered around the area and I recommend checking into these trails if backpacking interests you. Overall a day, or even a few hours in the region is well worth the time.

Big Pine Loop

Over my lifetime I have traveled many roads around my beautiful county. Now that I have the chance to share these roads, I think it is only reasonable to point others to some of the best roads and routes to tour in Hocking County. This specific loop I have thought up, isn’t a very difficult or little-known route. In fact, it uses some very well-traveled state routes and county roads that are smooth sailing but also very beautiful. I call it the Big Pine loop, since the road most traveled its Big Pine Road, which is one of the prettiest roads in Hocking County according to hockinghills.com.

Jeep at Lake Logan Dam

Cruise Through Beautiful Hemlock Groves


The Big Pine loop in total is 40 miles long and will take about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. Starting out this circuit, I pulled into the Lake Logan Dam and took in the streaming water, though I didn’t stay long, due to quite a cold rain coming down. Turning right out of the lot I traveled down State Route 664 South for about 3.5 miles, then I took another right onto Big Pine Road. Once on the county road I cruised through beautiful hemlock groves, skirted the bottom of sheer cliff faces and dipped in and out of great turns and corners.

There are a few points that might be a bit confusing, be sure to keep left at the intersection of Big Pine and Kreashbaum road (the signs are a little confusing). Also, when the intersection of Big Pine and State Route 374 is reached, continue straight. At mile 17, Big Pine Road dead ends into State Route 56, turning left, I continued to South Bloomingville. Once in town, I kept straight at the intersection, this led me down State Route 664 North, this section of road is also part of the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway, which we have an article on. This highway will stretch past Old Man’s Cave and back into Logan.

Interest Along the Way


Some points of interest that may be worth stopping at is of course Lake Logan Dam, also at mile 10.5 Conkle’s Hallow State Nature Preserve is off to the right, just before the State Route 374 intersection. In South Bloomingville there is a gas station, a Hunts Brother’s Pizza shop and also there is JimBo’s Burgers and Beer. Continuing on down State Route 664 is Grandma Faye’s Grocery off to the left. As mention around mile 28 Old Man’s Cave will be on the right.

Conkles Hollow Sign

Turns and Mileage


Start at Lake Logan Dam
Turn Right out of the parking lot onto SR 664 S.
Continue for 3.5 miles
Turn Right onto Big Pine Road
Keep left at mile 7.9 (away from Kreashbaum Road)
At mile 10.5 Conkle’s Hollow is on the Right
At mile 10.8 Continue Straight on Big Pine Road
Continue for 7 miles
Turn Left at mile 17.7 onto SR 56
Continue for 5 miles on SR 56
Keep straight at mile 22.9 onto SR 664 N (the intersection of South Bloomingville)
At mile 25.9 Keep Right to stay on SR 664/SR 374
At mile 28 Old Man’s Cave will be on the Right
Continue for 12 miles back to Logan

Black Diamond North Auto Tour

Black Diamond North Route

Black Diamond North Auto Tour route from Logan borrows from Ohio Windy 9 Black Diamond route. The route is about 56 miles in distance, and travels through Wayne National Forest in the southern part, and rolling agricultural areas in the north. Furthermore, it features some notable roller coaster road sections and fun high speed curves especially along State Route 93 from New Straitsville to Webb Summit. There are some interesting stops along the way.

Gazebo at Thomas Worthington Park

Black Diamond North Route from Logan starts in downtown Logan, Ohio at the Worthington Park located at the southwest corner of Main St and Market St. To begin, proceed east on Main St. one block and turn left onto Mulberry St, State Route 93. 93 then turns immediately right on Hunter before veering off the the left on Zanesville Rd. After that follow State Route 93 North out of town to Webb Summit. Just beyond Webb Summit, turn left on State Route 668.

State Route 668 North from SR 93 presents some challenging sections of road with hills and curves not for the faint of heart! All of a sudden this 10.4 mile section to Junction City demands drivers’ full attention. Upon reaching State Route 37 in Junction City, turn left and follow 37 for 0.8 miles, then turn right at 668 and proceed north for about 6 miles to Somerset. This section contains the largest roller coaster road hills section of the entire tour.

Somerset

Upon entering Somerset, turn right at the stop sign on US Route 22. Proceed one block to the town square then turn right on State Route 13 South. There are some interesting businesses and buildings near the center part of Somerset. Perhaps a brief walking tour would be in order? One short block south of the Somerset square is an Ohio Historical Marker for General Philip Henry Sheridan who grew up in Somerset. Several eateries and the Somerset Library are located within a block of the Somerset square in the central business district.

Continuing the Black Diamond North Auto Tour, proceed southeast on State Route 13 through rolling agricultural countryside for 9 miles to New Lexington, Ohio. Upon entering New Lexington, find a Dairy Queen on the left where 13 also turns left and shares the route with State Route 37 East. New Lexington presents many route signs and turns. After several turns, be alert for the State Route 93 right turn just beyond the central business district. Leave 13 and proceed south on 93.

Shawnee

Within 2 miles from leaving New Lexington, re-enter the Wayne National Forest. Travel an additional 7 miles and arrive at Shawnee, Ohio. Shawnee is home to the the Buckeye Trail headquarters, as well as the Black Diamond Tavern. Give consideration to stopping in Shawnee to visit both, as well as paying a visit to the Shawnee town chickens free ranging in and around the public green space next to the Black Diamond Tavern. Just south of the intersection of 93 and State Route 155, find on the left the entrance to Tecumsey Lake. This is a great place to take a hike!

Proceeding south on 93 from Shawnee, arrive in New Straitsville after 2.5 miles. Follow 93 south from New Straitsville back towards Logan. The section of 93 from outside New Straitsville to Webb Summit has the best high speed curves as the highway follows the Monday Creek valley. Arrive back in Logan in 12 miles.

Map of Black Diamond North Auto Tour route
Black Diamond North Tour Map

The Hocking Hills Nipper

The Hocking Hills Nipper is part of the Ohio Windy 9. This is a collection of self-guided motorcycle circuits centered around Athens, Ohio. Also, these roads are great for auto touring. Hocking Hills Topless Rentals takes interest in all fun driving roads. Even if they are catered to other vehicles. If you are going to have fun, then we want you to know about it! Plus, motorcycles are the ultimate Topless vehicles. We and the Windy 9 are meant to be together.

The Hocking Hills Nipper roads are known best for their scenery, cornering and smooth, open roads; much like the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway discussed last month. As the name suggests, there are 9 drives to choose from. However, we plan to only talk about the Hocking Hills Nipper in this article since it is based around the Hocking Hills region. We will visit other Windy 9 circuits later.

The Hocking Hills Nibbler consists of many roads that are great for driving; State Route 56, a stretch of Highway US 33; and State Route 664, The route also holds State Route 595 and 216, beautiful roads in Wayne National Forest. There are multiple small towns along the way as well, like New Straitsville, Chauncy, and South Bloomingville as well as Logan and Athens might be able to aid in a need for fuel or food, if the need arises. Athens, Ohio, home to Ohio University is also home to some great eateries and micro-breweries like Little Fish and Jackie O’s.

Lunch in Athens, Ohio touring The Hocking Hills Nipper

The Hocking Hills Nibbler is a 92-mile route in full, which should take around 2+ hours to tour at average speeds with no pit stops or sightseeing. However, as stated earlier, it is highly recommended to check out Athens and what the city has to offer. The Windy 9 has great support, with a beautiful website and a way to request maps, or download them as a pdf. Check out their website at https://www.windy9.com/ for directions and maps.

The Hocking Hills Nibbler is a beautiful drive and is likely to be enjoyed by all drivers. Remember to check it out the next time you’re on holiday in the Hocking Hills; and to really get a full experience, ride with the top down in a Corvette rental or Jeep rental at Hocking Hills Topless Rentals. As always, be sure to Enjoy Nature Topless!

Hocking Hills Scenic Byway

The Hocking Hills Scenic Byway is a great location for driving. However there in no compilation of roads and routes that can be recommended to people who wish to tour the beautiful Hocking Hills Region. Here at Hocking Hills Topless Rentals, we are all about awesome drives and beautiful scenery. Whether it’s a sports car rental or Jeep rental, there is a road for the driver and a car for the road. Look for a compilation of great drives in the Hocking Hills Region here!

Great Drive Just Off US 33

To start off our compilation of roads to experience in the Hocking Hills, we will talk about the well-known, and spoken about Hocking Hills Scenic Byway. This relatively short drive starts in Rockbridge, Ohio. Here, State Route 374 dead ends into US Route 33. OH-374 is a beautiful, well-maintained, two-lane road. It expresses itself with fun turns, great views and Hocking Hills State Park. One of the Parks, about 6 miles into the drive, mentioned is Cantwell Cliffs. It is a relatively small park with some very picturesque locations and steep trails. Don’t wander off trails.

O

Shortly after Cantwell Cliffs, OH-374 merges with State Route 180. It turns right and heads down into the valley. Drivers will be required to take a few turns that will bring them close to glorious cliff faces. Continuing down the highway for about another 4 miles, State Route 374 will split away from OH-180 at Mound Crossing. Eventually the road gives way from rolling plains back into State Forests.

Rock House, Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave

Soon the unique, Rock House will be off to the left of the road. This park is the only proper cave in the Hocking Hills, with a corridor halfway down the side of a hill face. Drivers will pass the state park headquarters and at around mile 20, drivers will turn left on to State Route 664 toward Old Man’s Cave. Once past Old Man’s Cave, (about mile 22) S.R. 374 will once again break off and turns right to head through a wonderful over-hill hemlock forest and around to Cedar Falls.

At mile 26 tourists will turn right at the junction of S.R. 374 and Rt. 56, just after the turn will be Ash Cave, another beautiful park in the region. Most information found about the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway says the drive stops at the junction of 374 and 56. However, in further investigation, I noticed that they recently extended the drive further down State Route 56 and through the cool and dark valley. After a few miles of great curves, 56 will again meet with 664 in the small town of South Bloomingville, turning right again send drivers right back towards Old Man’s Cave and eventually Logan.

Enjoy Nature Make Memories

When someone goes on vacation, they are looking for an experience that will make memories. Coming to the Hocking Hills is a way to experience a beautiful oasis in the middle of Ohio. Be enchanted by the beautiful rock faces, the scent of hemlock forests, the sounds of rushing water and native birds. It is a place to be surrounded with nature anytime there is a chance.

Cliff faces separated by a few feet

Enjoy Nature and Make Memories with Topless Vehicle

If you have ever visited the Hocking Hills and its hometown of Logan, you know the caves and many places of interest are quite a distance apart from each other. Driving all that way can be time consuming and perhaps even a little boring. But what if you could drive with the wind in your face, the sky surrounding you in every direction and the road rushing by your side? What if you could go down any road you pleased and never worry about getting your vehicle stuck or dirty? What if you were able to experience the beautiful rock faces, wonderful forest smells, and amazing sounds of the world around you in an open-atmosphere vehicle so that even your car couldn’t hinder your immersion in the natural world.


Renting a Topless vehicle is a fun way to achieve an amazing sensation. Enjoy nature and make memories for the best vacation. There is nothing quite like riding with your top off. Whether it’s just for the day, a few nights, or all week, there will always be a road that needs exploring and sights to be seen. So, check out what kind of memories Hocking Hills Topless Rentals llc can make for you. We are always willing to help you ‘Enjoy Nature Topless’.

Hocking Hills Topless Rentals llc potential vehicles for 2022 rental.

Hocking Hills to Enjoy Nature and Make Memories

The Hocking Hills is an oasis in Ohio. It is a marvel of nature set in the middle of a Midwest landscape. Many people come from around the country to experience this region set outside the small town of Logan, Ohio. Weathered cliff faces, cool shade of the hemlock forests, the sounds of native creatures and rushing creeks: a few things people wish to witness first hand touring Hocking Hills.


What many people might not realize is how much is in and around the Hocking Hills region. Some of this might be the simple fact that they are unaware of their surroundings. People might also find it risky to tour the back roads for fear of getting lost or dirtying their vehicle. But getting off the well-worn highways and onto some of those side roads and back roads might surprise people with the amazing views and beautiful drives that await.

How to Explore and Make Memories

So, the question can be asked; how can I see new and beautiful locations? How might I experience the wonders of nature in an exciting way? Really, it doesn’t take much if you want to take the drive in your own car, simply turn down one of those side roads and drive it, turn whichever way you please; and eventually, you’ll come back to a highway. Wherever there is a highway there is bound to be a town close by. But if you like to play it safe, do some research, find cool road and make a simple loop. There are articles and resources about great roads to travel that aren’t very rough or difficult to drive.

This website is going to fill with sources about beautiful drives, great touring and suggested routes for you to use when the decision is made to take an adventure, enjoy nature and make memories. Stay tuned!