Fort Hill is managed by the Arc of Appalachia on behalf of Ohio History Connection. The Arc of Appalachia has expanded the 1200 acre park with five property acquisitions, adding 280 more acres to the greater Fort Hill Preserve region.
Ancient Earthworks. The major earthwork at Fort Hill is an ancient earthen-walled enclosure constructed on top of a large flat-topped ridge. The earthen-stone wall has a circumference over one and a half miles, its span interrupted with at 36 definite made-man openings, and three more possible man-made openings. The wall itself ranges from 6 to 15 feet in height, averages 30 feet wide at its base, and encloses 35.3 acres. It was built to follow the natural contour of the rim of the hill, and is bordered on the inside wall by a substantial ditch. The total length of the embankment has been surveyed at 8,619 feet.
Eleven Miles of Hiking Trails. A total of eleven miles of hiking trails exist at Fort Hill, offering some of the best hiking in the entire state of Ohio. Because of the relatively long length of the preserve’s three trails, they are best suited for hiking enthusiasts. Hikers, please note back country trail conditions. It is wise to dedicate approximately one hour per mile in order to leisurely and safely enjoy Fort Hill’s back country trails. The trails are generally primitive in nature, being narrow, uneven, and traversing rolling hills that can sometimes approach steep. After a rain or in the spring after winter snow melt, the paths can be muddy, so please be prepared with proper foot gear. Before coming in the fall/winter, be sure to check the dates the hiking trails are closed for the deer management hunt. Fort Hill is a protected natural area. Regulations require that hikers remain on the trails. Harvesting or disturbing plant and animal life is not permitted. Fishing is not permitted. Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a leash at all times.
Old Growth Forest. Fort Hill boasts a stunning natural area of 1600 acres, sheltering one of the largest and oldest contiguous forests in all of Ohio. It is estimated that the park preserves over 800 vascular species of plants within its boundaries, an outstanding remnant of the temperate deciduous forest that once covered nearly all of the eastern United States. In 2015 Fort Hill was officially inducted as part of the Old Growth Forest Network.
Fort Hill Floral Displays. Fort Hill has a truly spectacular spring wildflower display including such showy species as Large-flowered trilliums, columbine, celandine poppy, and Sweet William woodland phlox. Hiking the gorge trail is mid-April is an enchanting experience.
Shelter House: Picnicking is a very popular and historic activity at Fort Hill, and the park offers some of the most beautiful picnic grounds in the state. The grounds are shaded by tall trees and dissected with a small meandering stream. The handsome picnic shelter was built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps out of native rock and wormy chestnut. Grills are available at both the picnic shelter and picnic areas. Fort Hill’s picnic shelter can be reserved for exclusive use for a fee of $40 per day. For reservations, please call ahead at 937-365-1935. Otherwise, use of the picnic shelter is first come, first served. Click here for regulations and more information.