Many years ago, there were thousands of Indian mounds in Ohio. Most of them have been built over, farmed over, or otherwise destroyed, but today there remain over 70 mounds that welcome visitors.
The mounds, also known as earthworks, were built over 2,000 years ago, normally for ceremonial purposes, sometimes as burial mounds.
Map of Indian Mounds in Ohio
Visit Indian Mounds in Ohio
Indian mounds were built in many versions and for many reasons. There are ceremonial mounds, burial mounds, as well as effigy mounds that resemble the shape of an animal.
For some of the Indian mounds in Ohio, it is clear what their purpose was; for many, however, it is not known why they were built.
Some excavated mounds have given up pottery fragments, stone, flint, food, jewelry, and more.
The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks were recognized as a World Heritage Site in September 2023. This group of earthworks includes the Hopewell Cultural National Historic Site, Fort Ancient Earthworks (Octagon and Great Circle), and Newark Earthworks.
Check out our article UNESCO Recognizes Ohio’s Hopewell Earthworks
Below we list some of the most popular Indian Mounds in Ohio.
Serpent Mound (Indian Mounds in Ohio)
This mound is the most dramatic of the Indian mounds in Ohio. It is the largest effigy earthwork in the world at 1,370 feet long. It is shaped like a curved snake with an open mouth, and there is also an egg at the mouth.
The Serpent Mound was believed to have been built by the Adena people, but experts don’t all agree on that or on when it was built. Thoughts range from 300 BC to AD 1500!
Opening hours: April to November:
- Monday – Closed
- Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm
- Sunday: Noon to 5 pm
Note: There are special opening hours on holidays. Parking is $8 per car. Admission is free.
As the name may suggest, Alligator Mound is an effigy mound believed to have been built by the Fort Ancient culture around 2,000 years ago. There is some debate about which animal is actually represented by this mound, early researchers believed it was an alligator, hence the name. More recently, it is believed to represent an opossum, a raccoon, or a panther since alligators are not native to Ohio. Alligator Mound is open from dawn to dusk.
- Address: 417 Bryn Du Dr, Granville, OH 43023
Hopewell Cultural National Historic Site
This location consists of five separate sites, including:
Mound City Group
This is the only fully restored Hopewell mound complex. The group consists of 25 mounds of varying sizes, surrounded by a low wall. The circular mounds within the wall include spherical and conical forms, apart from one that is loaf-shaped. There are two additional mounds outside the enclosure.
- Address: 16062 OH-104, Chillicothe, OH 45601
This large site is dominated by two enclosures: a large square with rounded corners and a near-perfect circle. Together, these enclosures cover 37.5 acres. Unfortunately, this complex fell victim to two centuries of plowing that, therefore, leveled the sloping embankment walls, leaving them barely visible today.
Hopeton Earthworks was reopened to the public in 2016 and is now accessible during daylight hours. From the parking lot, there is a 1-mile loop trail that passes an overlook area for viewing.
- Address: 1138-1286 Hopetown Rd, Chillicothe, OH 45601
Hopewell Mound Group
This site contains remnants of a large rectangular mound as well as other smaller mounds.
The grounds are open daily during daylight hours. There are restrooms, a picnic shelter, and a two-mile self-guided interpretive trail.
- Address: 3289-4699 Sulphur Lick Rd, Chillicothe, OH 45601
The Seip Mound, a reconstructed mound in the center of Seip Earthwork’s great circle enclosure, is the third largest burial mound the Hopewell culture is known to have built. Many artifacts have been found at this site, including a clay head, Hopewell cloth, and copper breastplates. The large central mound is only a small part of this enormous complex, but due to deterioration over hundreds of years, the remnants of the rest of the complex are hard to appreciate without a guide.
- Address: Bainbridge, OH 45612
Fort Ancient Earthworks (Indian Mounds in Ohio)
Fort Ancient is now a state park located along the Little Miami River. The park features a series of Indian mounds, including the largest prehistoric hilltop enclosure in the US. These mounds are generally attributed to the Hopewell tribe. The park has hiking and biking trails, and there is a museum recording more than 15,000 years of American Indian history.
Fort Ancient has seasonal opening hours:
Winter: December through March:
- Sunday Noon to 5 pm
April through November:
- Museum and grounds: Wednesday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm
- Sunday Noon to 5 pm
- Guided tours at 2 pm on the days the museum is open.
There is an admission fee for this park.
Miamisburg Mound is a large conical mound at 65 feet tall and 800 feet in circumference. The mound stands on a 100-foot-high ridge above the Great Miami River it is consequently visible from several miles away. This is a burial mound believed to have been built by the Adena culture.
Visitors can climb to the top of the mound via the 116-step concrete stairway. At this location is a 37-acre park with picnic facilities as well as a playground.
The Miamisburg Mound is open from dawn to dusk daily, and admission is free.
- Address: 900 Mound Road, Miamisburg, OH 45342
- Phone: 866-580-6508
Newark Earthworks (Indian Mounds in Ohio)
Although previously much larger, modern development and agriculture have destroyed a lot of the earthworks here. The remaining are the Octagon Earthworks, Wright Earthworks, and the Great Circle. The Octagon Earthworks are not open to the public as they are situated on a private golf course, but the Great Circle is. The Great Circle is nearly 1200 feet in diameter and is believed to have been a ceremonial center.
Open from dawn until dusk, and admission is free.
Note: The parking lot is a fair distance from the museum and the Great Circle.
This is a burial mound, and it is now part of Campbell Memorial Park in Columbus. It is attributed to the Adena culture and is estimated to be around 2,000 years old. Shrum Mound is 20 feet high and 100 feet in diameter. It is one of the few remaining conical burial mounds in the city of Columbus.
Open from dawn to dusk daily. Admission is free.
Williamson Mound at Indian Mound Reserve
This mound is believed to have been built by the Adena people, and it stands 30 feet high and is 140 feet in diameter.
Within this reserve is also the Pollock Works ancient Hopewell Indian village.
Check out our article Indian Mound Reserve!
- Address: 2750 US Rt. 42 E., Cedarville, OH 45314
- Phone: 937-562-6440
More Indian Mounds in Ohio
- Mound Cemetery: 514 Cutler St, Marietta, OH 45750
- Ranger Station Mound (Zaleski National Forest): Zaleski, OH 45698
- Hartman Mound: 535-549 Mound St, The Plains, OH 45780
- Fort Hill Earthworks & Nature Preserve: 13614 Fort Hill Rd, Hillsboro, OH 45133
- Enon Adena Mound: 400 Mound Cir, Enon, OH 45323
- Cross Mound Park: 11615 16th Rd SW, Stoutsville, OH 43154
- Jeffers Mound: Plesenton Dr, Worthington, OH 43085
- Conus Mound: 514 Cutler St, Marietta, OH 45750
- Story Mound: Chillicothe, OH 45601
- Hodgen’s Cemetery Mound: 227 Arn Ave, Tiltonsville, OH 43963
(Fort Ancient, Oregonia) Amazing place. The museum is large and well-designed with one thoughtful, thought-provoking, clear exhibit after another. Displays and artwork show the theories and conclusions of archaeologists who have been working at this site for years, revealing the observatory and agricultural almanac functions of this fascinating site. Extensive and varied trail network. I’ll be back to explore the museum and trails.Daniel S (TripAdvisor)
Cindy’s Insider Ohio Tips!
Ensure you plan your visit to the Indian Mounds by verifying the operating hours of the locations. If you’re heading to the ones in Newark, keep in mind that the site with a golf course can only be observed from the outside at present.
Let’s Visit Indian Mounds in Ohio
Have you visited Indian Mounds in Ohio? Which are your favorites, and which other would you like to visit? We’d love to know! Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.
Many of these Indian Mounds are encompassed within state parks. Here are some more state parks you would enjoy: Kiser Lake State Park, Mt. Gilead State Park, Scioto Trail State Park, and Mary Jane Thurston State Park.