Friday, March 20, 2009

Indian Mounds Park Cedarville, OH

A hike I took last year was to the Williamson Mound State Park near Cedarville. This is a beautiful hike, though relatively easy. Like the rest of the Greene County parks area it is filled with remnants of the post-glacial period - weathering cliffs of dolomite rock outcroppings and small waterfalls.

One feature, however, unlike the others in the county is the presence of Indian mounds. Ohio has over 70 mounds which were burial sites for the Adena and Hopewell tribes. These mound builders inhabited central and southern Ohio as far back as 3000 BC all the way to the 16th century. The mounds at the Williamson site were part of the Adena tribe and were built roughly between 500 B.C. and 100 A.D. While most were burial sites, some were also used for lookouts.

The Williamson Mound State Park hike began near a reconstructed log cabin. I traveled there on a January day when the weather was cool, but there had been recent storms leaving some areas off the trail with standing water. Some of the path was muddy though the rockier areas were pretty clear. The trail leads into the park and soon breaks giving you a choice of heading toward one of the mounds or crossing a wooden bridge into the denser areas which lead to the creek and gorge areas. Once you reach this area expect some more challenging hiking but beautiful views. One thing about hiking at this time of the year, there aren't many people. The warm sun and cool air always makes for more comfortable hikes.

As you hike the paths along the easier routes, you pass a number of cliffs. Gradually these cliffs lead to areas where they have collapsed into the river making for increased rapid activity an interesting photo opportunities. As you can see in the photo to the left, you can literally get almost right into the river area for some good shots.

As you continue hiking the path begins to rise until you begin to hear the sound of falls even though you cannot see them. Continuing down the path, as you come up over a rise, the falls are suddenly there and afford a platform for an opportunity to stand and view the area, or to take pictures. Farther back down the path is a wooden bridge that cross the stream. Photos taken from the bridge are also possible and afford a good view of the falls, at least at this time of the year when the trees are bare of leaves.

The Williamson Mounds State Park is an easy hike for anyone looking for good views but with extensive hiking facilities.

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