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Top 10 Scenic Drives in Ohio

Home of buckeye trees and the Ohio River, the state of Ohio has much to offer in the way of scenic views. From its forested state parks to water recreation to sweeping rural farmlands, an array of terrain waits to be discovered. Its natural beauty coupled with the preserved history of the Native Americans and early pioneers turns virtually any route into an education, and one of the best ways to begin your own journey of discovery in this region is with one of our favorite Ohio scenic drives:

No. 10 – Seneca Lake Loop

Seneca Lake Loop Ohio
Flickr user: Mike

Starting Location: Senecaville, OH
Ending Location: Senecaville, OH
Length: 22 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
See this drive on Google Maps

Looping around one of Ohio’s most popular lakes, this drive is ideal for passing away a morning or afternoon when stopping to enjoy the recreational activities the area has to offer. From boating to fishing to swimming when the weather is warm and ice skating in the cold, anyone can find something to have fun. Seneca Lake Park also has camping facilities for those who want to turn the trip into an overnight event.

No. 9 – Chagrin River Road

Chagrin River Road Ohio
Flickr user: quiddle.

Starting Location: Willoughby, OH
Ending Location: Chagrin Falls, OH
Length: 16 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
See this drive on Google Maps

This drive along Chagrin River Road passes through quite diverse terrain for such a short route, including verdant woods, open fields, and rural farms. There are several small parks just off the road with picnic areas to stop and recharge by the river, which is also known for its good fishing. Once in Chagrin Falls, stop at the old-fashioned Chagrin Falls Popcorn Shop with treats you may not even know you had missed and hike to the waterfall for which the town is named.

No. 8 – Covered Bridge Scenic Byway

Covered Bridge Scenic Byway Ohio
Flickr user: Mike

Starting Location: Marietta, OH
Ending Location: Alledonia, OH
Length: 66 miles
Best Season to Drive: Spring, Summer, and Fall
See this drive on Google Maps

As the name of this route suggests, travelers can find several covered bridges along the way that will inspire the inner photographer to spring forth, including the rebuilt Rinard Bridge over the Little Muskingum. There is also an array of small towns with quaint general stores and specialty shops to explore. The best part of the trip, however, lies in the gently rolling hills you pass on the way.

No. 7 – Route 9 to Armstrong Mills

Route 9 to Armstrong Mills Ohio
Flickr user: Jon Dawson

Starting Location: Cadiz, OH
Ending Location: Armstrong Mills, OH
Length: 32 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
See this drive on Google Maps

Passing through prairies criss-crossed by meandering streams, this route through old mining country provides a change of scene compared to much of the state. About halfway on the trip, stop in St Clairsville to see what’s left of the Saginaw Mine and the historic buildings downtown, such as the 1890 Clarendon Hotel. There is also a nice bike path for the more athletically inclined that passes through a rail tunnel and by gazebos to stop and rest.

No. 6 – Highways 520 and 52

Highways 520 and 52 Ohio
Flickr user: Mike

Starting Location: Killbuck, OH
Ending Location: Nashville, OH
Length: 13 miles
Best Season to Drive: Spring, Summer, and Fall
See this drive on Google Maps

Starting in a region full of rocky outcroppings and leveling out into rolling hills through rural towns and farmlands, this short route is ideal for a leisurely morning or afternoon drive for a change of scene. Its curves and hills are especially fun on a motorcycle, but any vehicle will do to enjoy the passing views. Although there isn’t much in way of attractions, chatting up the friendly residents of Nashville at the local tavern over a brew or snacks can make the trip more memorable.

### No. 5 – Dalzell Road Dalzell Road Ohio
Flickr user: Mike

Starting Location: Whipple, OH
Ending Location: Woodsfield, OH
Length: 32 miles
Best Season to Drive: Spring, Summer, and Fall
See this drive on Google Maps

For a ride to keep you on your toes as you enjoy spectacular views, this drive from Whipple to Woodsfield certainly fits the bill. Known as one of the most winding roads in the state, travelers should take care yet also take time to stop and enjoy the lush forest all around. This way also passes through an array of sleepy small towns, providing visual interest and a peek into others’ lives.

No. 4 – Ohio Route 255

Ohio Route 255
Flickr user: Thomas

Starting Location: Woodsfield, OH
Ending Location: Sardis, OH
Length: 20 miles
Best Season to Drive: Spring, Summer, and Fall
See this drive on Google Maps

This route may be relatively short, but it is plenty sweet with tons of scenic views as you twist and turn through the Wayne National Forest. The elevation constantly changes through the hills and valleys, keeping it interesting throughout. Toward the end in Sardis, the drive meets with the Ohio River, where travelers may enjoy stopping to test their luck at fishing or for an afternoon picnic spread.

No. 3 – Ohio River Scenic Byway

Ohio River Scenic Byway
Flickr user: Alvin Feng

Starting Location: Cincinnati, OH
Ending Location: Wheeling, OH
Length: 289 miles
Best Season to Drive: Spring, Summer, and Fall
See this drive on Google Maps

Winding along with the Ohio River, this route provides plenty of water views as well as sites of historical interest. The way is peppered with places to learn more about long-ago inhabitants, early pioneers, and those who were involved with the Underground Railroad, such as Historic Fort Steuben and the Martius Museum of the Northwest Territory. Stop in Shawnee State Park for outdoor recreational opportunities in the rolling hills of the Appalachian Plateau, known as the “Little Smokies of Ohio.”

No. 2 – Ohio and Lake Erie Canalway

Ohio and Lake Erie Canalway
Flickr user: Robert Linsdell

Starting Location: Cleveland, OH
Ending Location: New Philadelphia, OH
Length: 87 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
See this drive on Google Maps

This winding route between Cleveland and New Philadelphia provides a nice blend of culture and natural beauty. Before setting out, explore what Cleveland has to offer from the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame to the Cleveland Museum of Art before heading toward Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Down the road, take time to visit the Hale Farm and Village, a living museum dedicated to preserving the way of life in the region during the 19th century.

No. 1 – Hocking Hills Scenic Byway

Hocking Hills Scenic Byway
Flickr user: Tabitha Kaylee Hawk

Starting Location: Rockbridge, OH
Ending Location: Logan, OH
Length: 30 miles
Best Season to Drive: All
See this drive on Google Maps

Photo opportunities abound at every turn on this drive through hemlocks and pines that ends with a loop around Hocking Hills State Park. Once in the park, your eyes will be delighted with the sight of rugged cliffs, unusual rock formations, lush woods, and cascading waterfalls. Stop at Rock Cave, a 200-foot long and 25-foot wide natural cave, which was once used by the Native Americans for shelter and as a hideout for thieves and bootleggers but is now open for the public to walk through and enjoy.

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