Southeast Ohio may not sound like an exotic riding location, but the region has some very challenging roads in the Appalachian Mountain foothills. SR 555, which winds its way 65 miles south from Zanesville, OH, to the banks of the Ohio River, is one of the most difficult routes that any rider is likely to encounter in Ohio or in many other locations.
Many accomplished motorcyclists, who have never experienced the roads of Southeast Ohio, might wonder how riding these foothills could be challenging or even that interesting. As it turns out, the Triple Nickel, and other two-lane tarmac in rural Southeast Ohio, give riders a masterclass in constantly changing elevation and an unrelenting progression of curves with fluctuating radii. One of the frequent comments of riders there goes something like: “When I ascended that hill, I had no clue of what direction the pavement would go.” SR 555 makes for a thrilling ride, but it demands unwavering rider concentration to avoid mishaps.
Historic Marietta, OH, which is perched on the banks and confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers at about the halfway point of this round trip, has numerous eateries and curiosities to explore. The return to Zanesville, along more of Southeast Ohio’s serpentine backroads, creates a total round trip of 160 miles and the opportunity to tour four fascinating points of interest.
Points of Interest
Check out the surviving earth-moving bucket of what was once the world’s largest coal strip mining machine known as Big Muskie. It’s located on SR 78 east of McConnelsville, just before turning north onto SR 284.
Witness over 9,000 acres devoted to rare and endangered species. The park’s immersive experience can involve zip line tours, horseback riding, and hands-on experiences. Find the park at 14000 International Rd, Cumberland, OH, (740) 638-5030.
After riding over Zanesville’s historic Y-Bridge, go to Putnam Hill Park for a panoramic perspective of it at the overlook.