Fort Hill Earthworks and Nature Preserve

Location: Hillsboro, Ohio

Webpage: Ohio State Park

General Description: Fort Hill is a large, ancient earthen wall enclosure built on the top of a flat-topped ridge.  The wall has a circumference of 1.5 miles with 36 man-made openings along the length.  The wall ranges from 6 to 15 feet high with an average width of 30 feet at the base and encloses 35.3 acres.  It was built to follow the natural contour of the ridge and had substantial ditches on the inside of the wall.  Along with the hiking trail that climbs up from the parking lot to Fort Hill, there are 11 miles of hiking trails in the park through the 1300 acre natural area that includes largest and contiguous forests in Ohio.  This is an outstanding remnant of the temperate hardwood deciduous forests that once covered most of the eastern United States.


1) The parking lot at the trailhead at the base of the hill is quite large, so this must be a busy place at times.  However, on a Friday in mid-September, we were just about the only hikers.  The trail up the side of the hill to the Fort is moderate in difficulty, although the constant uphill grade can be taxing for the elderly.  As this is a loop trail I would recommend hiking it in a counter-clockwise direction so the uphill hike up the hill is longer and not as steep.  The entire length of the loop is just over 2 miles.


2) Fort Hill is at the top of the ridge and the trail travels down the entire length of the earthworks along the ridge.  At times the ridge is narrow enough to see the earthen wall in both directions through the trees, however, generally you can only see the southern wall.  The wall is easily discernible and in places the ditch on the inside of the wall is very impressive.  It is certainly worth the effort to make the climb up the hill!