Itinerary: Abandoned Places in the Ohio Valley (Following the Ohio River Scenic Byway)

Itinerary: Abandoned Places in the Ohio Valley (Following the Ohio River Scenic Byway)

Here is the itinerary from our recent Ohio River Valley Road Trip

For several years, I have been researching, shooting, and planning for a book about beleaguered communities along the Ohio River. This trip represented a large swath of unexplored Ohio River territory for me, and completes my visits to the area. Now, to finish the book!

Chillicothe Ohio

We hubbed in Chillothe and spoked out into the Ohio / West Virginia countryside to follow the Ohio River from Parkersburg, West Virginia to almost Cincinnati, across multiple days.

Chillicothe is a beautiful, historic and not-too-large city that served as the hub for our road trip itinerary. It has wonderful historic architecture, a small but nice city park near downtown, good local restaurants as well as a large number of chain restaurants, and it’s not too trafficky.

You could, of course, hub elsewhere, or stay along the route if you prefer.

Along the way we found abandoned churches in the countryside, abandoned houses in thickets of trees along bends in the road, and towns like Pomeroy — with a lot of great architecture, both abandoned and historic / still in use.

This abandoned church sits along the Ohio River Scenic Byway. It's just one of the many unexpected discoveries you'll make roadtripping in the area. Photo by Teena Young.
This abandoned church sits along the Ohio River Scenic Byway. It’s just one of the many unexpected discoveries you’ll make roadtripping in the area. Photo by Teena Young.

A note about the route: You’ll be driving on winding roads through Amish country. Keep an eye open for slow-moving horse-drawn buggies. We also saw two Amish lads on bicycles on the highway.

Our route:

We drove from Chillicothe to Parkersburg, West Virginia to start our journey.

Parkersburg, WV

Parkersburg is historic with lots of great old buildings, a lovely historic district, and some significant abandoned places. After spending some time there, we drove out to follow the river.

Leave Parkersburg on Highway 68 toward Ravenswood, West Virginia.

At Ravenswood we crossed the river on U.S. Route 33 and turned left onto the Ohio River Scenic Byway (Highway 124).

Except for our diversion away from the river to visit to Serpent Mound (a must see!) we followed the Down Ohio Scenic River Byway the remainder of the way — although the highway number changed near Pomeroy to Highway 7.

At Gallipolis, Ohio, we also crossed back over the river into West Virginia to visit Point Pleasant, a beautiful and historic community, best known for the Mothman legend and the tragic Silver Bridge collapse in the 1960s.

We passed through these communities (bold means we found some great abandoned places photo ops there):

  • Parkersburg, WV
  • Ravenswood, WV
  • Apple Grove, OH
  • Letart Falls, OH
  • Antiquity, OH
  • Racine, OH
  • Syracuse, OH
  • Minersville, OH
  • Pomeroy, OH
  • Cheshire, OH
  • Gallipolis, OH / Point Pleasant, WV
  • Ironton
  • Aberdeen OH / Maysville, KY

Pomeroy, OH

We loved our time in Pomeroy. It boasts a lot of history and has the architecture to back it up, but also a significant amount of abandoned houses and other structures nestled into the old neighborhoods and hillsides.

Maysville, KY

On a different day, we visited Aberdeen, OH and crossed the river to Maysville, Kentucky which turned out to be a true highlight, with a lot of historic architecture and small-town charm. Highly recommended.

Other points of interest:

  • Serpent Mound, Circleville, and the city of Washington Court House, all of which are away from the river but well worth a visit!

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