THE PAINT VALLEY CREEK
Between Serpent Mound and the Paint Creek Valley is one of the regionís most spectacular natural and architectural treasures, Fort Hill. Owned by the Ohio Historical Society and operated by the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System, this 33-acre, earthwork-enclosed plateau stands exactly where an amazing variety of geological and ecological zones converge.
The massive, sandstone-paved, Hopewell-era earthwork (ca. AD 200) stands today within a huge nature preserve, amidst one of the largest old-growth forests in the Midwest.
The park is a remarkable convergence of ecosystems; rare plant and animal life thrives in conditions which seem, amazingly, to vary from one side of the hill to another. Micro-climates, plus soil and bedrock conditions around the hilltop and in the surrounding ravines, produce a startling variety: most spectacular are the spring wildflowers, and surviving pre-glacial species like the Canadian White Cedar.
The steep hillsides, the earthworks, streams, gorges, and dense old-growth forest can be explored along 11 miles of hiking trails, of varying length and difficulty, all diverging from the peaceful picnic area, just above the museum.
The siteís address is 13614 Fort Hill Road, Hillsboro, OH 45133; phone: 937-588-3221. Contact the Arc of Appalachia or visit their website (www.arcofappalachia.org) for opening times.