Road Trippin’ with Truda: Second Friday Tour of Serpent Mound
Posted April 25, 2023
Orange block with Road Trippin' with Truda written with the image of a vintage car.

By Truda Shinker, Ohio History Connection Membership Manager

Join me as I visit the sites in the Ohio History Connection network! This month's road trip took me to Serpent Mound in Peebles.

Serpent Mound is an internationally known National Historic Landmark built by the ancient American Indian cultures of Ohio. It’s the world’s largest effigy mound and represents a snake with a curled tail. Nearby are three burial mounds—two created by the Adena culture and one by the Fort Ancient culture.

You can learn more about Serpent Mound by taking the new monthly tour with Ohio History Connection archaeologist Bill Kennedy. Bill is passionate about the topic and is a lively and gifted teacher. His walking tour will give you an overview of precontact American Indians in Ohio and at Serpent Mound. You’ll learn about what we know of the earthwork’s history from its creation through modern times.

The tours take place at 1:30 pm every second Friday of the month. Meet up with Bill in front of the Visitor’s Center and wear comfortable walking shoes. I would definitely recommend that you call Serpent Mound at 800.752.2757 to confirm the date and time of the tour before you head out.

Parking for the general public is $8 per car, but free for Ohio History Connection members. Our members also get free general admission to our 50+ sites around the state. For more information and to join today, visit!

Address: Serpent Mound is located at 3850 State Route 73 in Peebles, Ohio.

How much time: The Archaeology Tour itself takes about 60-90 minutes. However, there are lots of things to see and do at Serpent Mound. You can walk around the earthwork on your own, hike the surrounding woods and explore the small museum and gift shop. I would plan to spend at least two hours at the site.

My Favorites: I love Serpent Mound. It’s an absolutely beautiful site and somehow always feels peaceful, no matter how many people are there. My favorite part of any visit to Serpent Mound is just walking the path around the earthwork and taking in the site.

My more prosaic favorite at Serpent Mound is the gift shop. The staff has curated an interesting assortment of items, from jewelry and shirts to books and home goods, as well as some surprises. I especially like the stickers and mugs. And don’t miss the cookies!

Truda's Tips: The site’s restrooms are in separate buildings near the parking lot. I would advise making a trip there before you head out to view the earthwork. I’d also suggest visiting the small museum in the Visitor’s Center before you take in the rest of the site. It’ll give you some good context and help you understand what you’re looking at.

There’s very little shade when you’re walking around the earthwork. Definitely wear sunscreen and dress for the weather. Someone on our tour was using an umbrella as a parasol and I was wishing I’d done the same.

Ohio Historical Marker - Serpent Mound - One of North AMerica's most spectacular effigy mounds. Serpent Mound is a gigantic earthen sculpture representative of a snake. Built on a spur of rock overlooking Ohio Brush Creek around 1000 AD by the Fort Ancient culture, the earthwork was likely a place of ceremonies dedicated to a powerful serpent spirit. The site is located on the edge of a massive crater, possibly formed by the impact of a small asteroid around 300 million years ago. Frederic Ward Putman studied Serpent Mound between 1886 and 1889. Due largely to his efforts, Serpent Mound became the first privately funded archaeological preserve in the United States.
Image looking down/across Serpent Mound

Kid Friendly? Yes, definitely: The walk around the earthwork is paved and easy to navigate, so kids of all ages won’t have any trouble. The path is pretty stroller friendly as well. There were several children on the tour the day I was there. Bill thoroughly answered their questions and made them feel part of the experience.

 Lunch: Serpent Mound is very picnic-friendly—there’s a nice shelter, as well as a good number of picnic tables scattered around the site. The first time I visited with my family, we brought lunch and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to eat lunch in such lovely surroundings.

For this visit, I kicked it up a notch. The last time I drove through Hillsboro, I noticed a sit-down Pizza Hut and knew I had to visit. For context, when I was a student at Miami University in the mid-90s, the local sit-down Pizza Hut was the fancy restaurant that our parents would take us when they visited. It always felt like a party.

So now, all these years later, sit-down Pizza Huts still feel like a special place. And I’m happy to report that the Hillsboro location lived up to my expectations. It looked just like I wanted it to with the Pizza Hut-branded stained-glass lighting and the checkered tablecloths. The pizza was the temperature of the surface of the sun when it was brought to our table and the prices felt like they were straight out of the 90s. Overall, it was an A++ experience. I would highly recommend.

For more information: To learn more about Serpent Mound, you can visit our website. You can get up to date info about days and hours of operation. Please note: the site closes promptly at 5 pm on the days it is open. Please arrive by 4 pm at the latest so you have enough time to explore the site.

Want to make a day of your trip? Check out everything Adams County has to offer at the Adams County Travel & Visitors Bureau website.

You could also combine a visit to Serpent Mound with a trip to other Ohio History Connection sites in the area. Fort Hill Earthworks & Nature Preserve outside Hillsboro is about 20 minutes away and Fort Ancient Earthworks & Nature Preserve in Oregonia is about an hour away.

Group of people standing around an overlook onto the valley at Serpent Mound listening to tour leader Bill Kennedy.

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