Athens, Ohio is what I personally consider to be hippy heaven on Earth. This lovely little college town is filled with spunky free spirits, some of the best food on the planet, and a brilliant institution. But what really makes Athens so special is all of its hidden gems. I could go on and on about all of the fascinating nooks and crannies around this town, but for now I am going to focus on one of my personal favorites; Witches Peak (also known as Witches Hill and Witches Tit).
Being in the middle of Appalachia, Athens has a variety of rolling hills that are great for hiking. There is the ever so popular, Strouds Run. Then you have Radar Hill, with the spooky Ridges planted on top. And we can’t forget the most famous, Bong Hill. However, just across the street from Bong Hill is its lesser known sister hill, Witches Peak.
All of the hills in the Athens area are wonderful hiking spots, but Witches Peak is more than just a hiking trail to me. Bong Hill may have a nice view and Strouds has a lake, but Witches Peak has the beauty. The hill is enclosed in a grove of trees that makes you feel like you are in a completely different world. It’s enchanting.
I love Witches Peak because I feel at peace when I am up there. For one, it is always less crowded than Bong Hill. You may see fellow hikers up on Witches Peak, but it is never as packed as Bong Hill. It is also quiet at the top of Witches. You can hear the breeze whistle through the trees up there; I love being able to hear that sound.
Green encompasses the top of the hill, even during the coldest months of the year. There is also a copious amount of boulders and rock formations scattered throughout the hill, that are great for climbing. To top it off, there is even a little cave like structure to burrow under. Witches Peak is like my playground. I can climb trees, run around in the leaves, and scale giant rocks all while taking in Mother Nature’s beauty surrounding me.
Now, I’m sure you are wondering where the name “Witches Peak” came from. Rumor has it that there was a Satanic worshiping witch cult that did rituals on top of the hill in the 70’s. However, there is no confirmation of this rumor being true. Chances are it was just made up to scare freshman but hey, anything is possible right?
Call me crazy, but I am someone who likes to believe in magic. Witches Peak is one of my favorite hidden gems in Athens because it’s a place where I feel like magic could exist. Not the kind of dark, Satan worshiping magic that may have gotten the hill its name; but a playful, warmhearted magic. I often say that if I was a mythical creature, I would be a woodland faerie. I think if I was, that Witches Peak would be my faerie wonderland.
*Note: Pictures do not do Witches Peak justice.