Visiting Junction Earthworks Preserve
Located in Chillicothe, Ohio
Hiking Information & Directions (scroll down)
Trail Information & Printable Map
Earthworks Trail: 0.5 mile loop, easy
The Earthworks Trail begins at the Trailhead Parking Lot and takes visitors on a tour through the field containing the 9 earthworks composing Junction. Through most of the year, the earthwork features are selectively mowed in order to reveal their 2000 year old locations to our modern eyes. Occasionally, even the earthwork walls need to be mowed to maintain their grassland components and to keep out invasive plants. Consequently, although the earthwork locations are not visible every single day, they are visible the majority of the year.
Tippecanoe Darter Trail: 1.7 mile loop, easy but long; level
The Tippecanoe Darter Trail originates from the Earthworks Trail, and transverses a 70 acre restored grassland prairie on what was not so long ago a crop field covered with soybeans and corn. Rare grassland birds have already established themselves in the prairie. We encourage you to bring your binoculars and keep your ears alert for their songs. Look for such signature birds as Dickcissels, Grasshopper Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, and Yellowthroats; as well as native bumblebees. After traversing prairie, the trail crosses through a narrow easement, descends over an ancient steep river terrace, and enters the floodplain woods. This riverine forest is rich in Silver Maple, Cottonwood and Black Walnut; and is filled with orioles, vireos, tanagers, and warblers. Two trail spurs lead to Paint Creek, providing scenic river vistas along two cobblestone “beaches.”
Star Brook Trail: 1.2 mile loop, moderately difficult,
unimproved creek crossing,one ascent
Star Brook Trail leads into the bluff forests lying above Junction’s earthworks and prairie. When Junction was purchased in 2014, the forest was completely inundated with invasive shrubs and flowers which had nearly displaced the native flowers and shrubs. Especially dense were bush honeysuckle and multiflora rose, so much so that seeing into the forest more than a few feet in front of one’s face was simply not possible. The Arc of Appalachia has been working since 2015 with volunteers to remove the non-native vegetation and begin restoring the woodlands to a semblance of its original botanical composition. Thousands of man and woman hours have gone into this effort. Please enjoy the result! Common trees in the bluff forest include Shagbark Hickory, White Oak, Red Oak, and Hackberry.
Steel Earthworks Trail:
easy but long
Please note, there are no signs up yet for the prairie loop and connector trail, but they are accessible. The connector trail originates off of Plyles Lane and takes you one mile down an mowed corridor to the Steel Earthworks Prairie trail. From the Junction Earthworks parking lot, walk down the road to the left. Please be cautions while walking the road! At the stop sign, stay straight onto Plyleys Ln. Do not turn right, which is also Plyleys, and do not turn left, as that is a private drive. Just before you reach the corn field on the right, there is an opening in the brush on the right with a silver gate and the mowed corridor. Go around the gate, and walk the mile long railroad corridor until you get to the opening and trail into the stunning views of the Steel Earthworks Prairie. The trail goes out to the circle mound, then loops out through the prairie, has a spur to the river, and loops back to where you started. Feel free to bike out the corridor, but please do not bike through the prairie and Earthworks.
Directions to Junction
On the Southeast Corner of Belleview Avenue and Plyleys Lane, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601
Directions from Columbus to Junction
Your final destination of Junction Earthworks is approximately 40 miles from Outerbelt 270. To Begin: Get on the 270 Outerbelt around Columbus and head south. Exit on SR 23 and head south through Circleville, continuing toward Chillicothe. Fourteen miles south of Circleville, turn right onto SR 207 N, passing over the Scioto River. Follow SR 207 N for 2.2 miles then continue straight on SR 104 S. Follow SR 104 S into Chillicothe until it intersects with Highway 50 (also known as Western Avenue and Main Street). Turn right or west on HIghway 50 into Chillicothe’s downtown retail district. Look for a Kentucky Fried Chicken and CVS Pharmacy on your left, and turn onto Plyleys Lane between the two establishments. Follow Plyleys Lane until you come to a stop sign. Turn left at the stop sign on Belleview Avenue. Junction is a few hundred feet down Belleview on your right. Turn right into the parking lot.
Directions from Cincinnati to Junction
Your final destination of Junction Earthworks is approximately 80 miles from Outerbelt 275. To Begin: Get on the 275 outerbelt around Cincinnati and go to to the Newtown area (southeast corner of 27. If 275 were a clock the exit would be at 5:00). Exit on Route 32, the Appalachian Highway. Follow 32 east approximately 27 miles. Exit on SR 132 and follow the signs to stay on SR 132. Follow SR 132 for roughly four miles. Just south of Owensville, make a sharp left on SR 276 and drive the short remaining distance to downtown Owensville. Turn right on Highway 50. Follow Highway 50 through Hillsboro, Rainsboro, Bainbridge, Bourneville, and Slate Mills. Continue east on Highway 50 towards Chillicothe until you reach the retail district on the west side of Chillicothe. Pass by SaveaLot and Family Dollar, and begin looking for CVS Pharmacy and Kentucky Fried Chicken and on your right, and turn onto Plyleys Lane between the two establishments. Follow Plyleys Lane until you come to a stop sign. Turn left at the stop sign on Belleview Avenue. Junction is a few hundred feet down Belleview on your right. Turn right into the parking lot.