Bluebell Preserve (64.9 acres) was donated to the Athens Conservancy by American Electric Power (AEP) in 2006. It consists of two separate sections, both of which abut the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway. The southeast section, in Dover Township, extends from the end of Hamley Run Road to Hamley Run itself. The northwest section, mostly in York Township, borders the Wayne National Forest. Both sections border AEP’s Poston Lands on the south.
Both sections feature spectacular spring wildflower displays; which are generally at their peak in mid-April and are easily enjoyed from the bikeway. The masses of trilliums, Virginia bluebells, and blue-eyed Mary are particularly beautiful in the southeast section, but there is a greater diversity of wildflowers in the northwest section.
Because of the steep slopes, fragile ecosystem, and proximity to the bikeway, hunting is not allowed on this preserve. (Hunting is allowed, with a permit, on the adjacent AEP Poston Lands.) There is an old coal mine (collapsed) in the southeastern tract, along with an old railroad grade that once served the mine, and old road grades. The western section features two Native American mounds on the ridge top, but these were extensively plundered in the past.
To get to the Bluebell Preserve from Athens, take US-33 6.5 miles northwest from the US-50 junction to the SR-682 (N. Plains Rd.) exit. Turn right on SR-682 and go 0.4 mile to the first cross road. Turn left and go 0.2 mile to a parking area on the right, serving the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway (which is at about mile 10.2 on the bikeway; there are markers every half mile). Walk west on the bikeway 1.3 miles to reach the preserve. The southeast section of the preserve starts at mile marker 11.5 and extends along the bikeway to mile marker 12. The northwest section extends from near mile marker 12.5 to about 12.8. We do not recommend parking along Hamley Run Road, the gravel road that parallels the bikeway, because of possible theft problems. The northwest section can be more easily accessed by parking where Glen Ebon Rd. (Co. Rd. 4) crosses the bikeway and walking southeast about 0.5 mile.