TRIP IDEA

Hiking the Sites of Hopewell Culture NHP

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

A trailhead opening between clusters of trees
Duration Half Day
Topic(s) Native American Heritage, Foothills, Plains and Valleys, Scenic Views
Activities Hiking, Front-Country Hiking
Type Kid Friendly, Active, Educational, Inspirational
Parks Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

Ranger Recommendations

If you're planning on hiking at any of the park sites and would enjoy a nice walk on the grounds, we have some tips to help you prepare.

  • If you want to immerse yourself in the full experience, be prepared to walk among the mounds and on the nature trails. We highly reccomend closed-toe shoes to protect your feet from the tiny critters in the grass and on the trail, especially in the summer time.
  • Dress in layers when colder weather is upon us. Walking the trails will raise body temps, but some trails are level and have no steep inclines or declines, so exertion will depend upon everyone's own physical stamina/endurance. The trail at Hopewell Mound Group does have a gradual incline that will require some exertion, but would be classified as "light" for hiking purposes. The trail at Seip Earthworks is classified as "light" as well. The new trail at Hopeton Earthworks has a gradual incline and decline once you exit the forest, so that hike is classified as "light to moderate."
  • If you are going to hike Spruce Hill, make sure you contact the visitor center and arrange for the proper permit to enter the site. Spruce Hill is open to the public, but those wishing to hike the site need to obtain a permit to access the parking lot gate. Upon arriving, the lot may not be mowed. Closed-toed shoes/sturdy hiking boots are recommended for this hike. When you set out on your hike up to the plateau, the trail follows an old logging road from the west edge of the parking lot. Be advised, the hike up to the plateau is considered "moderate to difficult." It is an uphill hike with steep changes in elevation. Once at the top, the area flattens out and you may encounter tall grass if the site has not been mowed. Again, closed-toed shoes/sturdy hiking boots are recommended. Please stay on the trail as most of the existing trail on the plateau is flat. Areas off of the plateau trail have severe ridges and depressions from previous years of agricultural farming. When you are ready to leave, be cautious on your descent on the trail. The steepness of the descending trail may not appear to be as severe as it really is. This is why it is important to have on a good pair of hiking boots with good sole treads.
  • Be sure to bring a good camera with plenty of extra storage. All of the park's sites are beautiful and picturesque locations and are often photographed by professionals and amateurs. To view and download professionally-taken shots of various locations around the park, visit the Photo Gallery section on our website. All photos on the park page are public domain but should be credited appropriately if/when re-used.
  • Lastly, be sure to bring lots of questions! While we won't have all of the answers, rangers are available during normal business answers to assist you and to help you in your quest for more information.
Suggested Activities
  • Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

    Hiking & Exploring Mound City Group

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Front-Country Hiking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: Mound City Group
    • Duration: 20–180 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Two people walking into a grass-covered mound area

    Steps away from the park visitor center lies the only fully reconstructed Hopewellian site in the world, the Mound City Group. Visitors will find 23 mounds of varying sizes and shapes enclosed by a 3 foot high earthen wall. Walking inside of the group, visitors will find interpretive signs at various locales. Also available is a nature trail that encircles the mound group and winds through the young forest and also parallels the Scioto River on the east side of the park.

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  • Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

    Hiking & Exploring Hopeton Earthworks

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Hiking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: Hopeton Earthworks
    • Duration: 60–180 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Two rangers point out features of the grounds

    Hopeton Earthworks is located just beyond the Scioto River, east of the Mound City Group. This earthworks site was once home to a large circle and square earthwork, connected by two parallel walls that stretched for about 1/3 mile. Today, it contains a self-guided trail that brings visitors to an overlook of the entire site. Careful examination of the landscape will reveal the remnants of the low-earthen walls of the circle and square.

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  • Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

    Hiking & Exploring Hopewell Mound Group

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Hiking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: Hopewell Mound Group
    • Duration: 45–180 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Two interpretive signs in the foreground with a large green field in the background

    Hopewell Mound Group is the type-site of the Hopewell culture. It was once home to the largest Hopewell mound ever constructed. Today, it is one of the park's six sites and contains trails for visitors to enjoy. A walk on the trail into the forested area brings visitors to the remnants of a part of the original earthen wall. Open during daylight hours, the trail is about 2.5 miles long with a few changes in elevation. A bike path also runs alongside the complex.

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  • Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

    Hiking & Exploring Seip Earthworks

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Front-Country Hiking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: Seip Earthworks
    • Duration: 30–180 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    A large grass-covered mound surrounded by large trees

    Seip Earthworks is a large earthworks site which once contained three geometric features that were connected. A large circle that contained a huge earthen burial mound was connected to a smaller circle and small square. The large earthen mound was excavated in the 1920's but was reconstructed afterwards. Today, visitors will find a scenic nature trail that winds through the complex from the parking area, just off of the highway, leading to the reconstructed mound.

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Last updated: November 1, 2017