Funny how things seem so much bigger when you’re a child. I must have been about eight years old last time I saw Serpent Mound—Ohio’s largest earthwork and one of the country’s most well-preserved earthworks. I remember it as this massive, meandering mystery of a thing with all sorts of astronomical meaning. I remember there was a colossal viewing tower where you could see the entirety of the snake unfurl across the land.
Well, it was not as big as my memory.
To be sure, it is worth visiting, worth seeing and taking a hike around the park. But the mound at its highest point is about five feet tall. You can lap the entire earthwork on an asphalt path in about fifteen minutes walking at a leisurely pace. The signage is nice (although it uses hedging language like “maybe” or “people speculate”). And the folks who work the museum are as friendly as can be—truly a pleasure to talk to.
We took the hiking trail that goes down along the river and that was the highlight of the trip. The river is gorgeous and the cliffs are covered with spring green. If you’re in the area, make the stroll further down the state route to Chalet Nivale—one of our all-time favorite hikes.