Cross Mound Park gets its name from the unique ancient earthwork structure situated in the shape of a plus-sign, or cross, composed of four identical arms each about 12 feet wide, three feet high and 45 feet long. The cross sits at the top of a moderate incline just west of Salt Creek, a tributary of the Scioto River. Archeologists have suggested that its western arm was carved out of the surrounding landscape, as opposed to the traditional approach of “mounding” soil to create a structure. At this time, little is known about who constructed the cross or why; however, its orientation nearly aligns with the cardinal points of north, south, east and west. This site may have been a part of the Great Hopewell Road, a 62-mile pathway that once connected the Great Octagon Earthworks in Newark, Ohio, to either the High Banks Earthworks or the Hopeton Earthworks in in Chillicothe, Ohio. In addition to the cross-shaped earthwork, the park contains a small stone mound and several smaller mounds, possibly of the Hopewell period.
Cross Mound Park also features the Salt Creek Pedestrian Bridge, a picturesque suspension bridge spanning the creek of the same name. The bridge was constructed in 1936 through the Works Progress Administration. The Ohio History Connection transferred the site to the Historical Parks in 1994.
Map and Directions
Cross Mound Park is located at 11615 Sixteenth Road, Stoutsville, Ohio 43154.
From the corner of Main and Broad Streets in Lancaster, Ohio, head west on Main Street/Lincoln Avenue/US-22 for approximately four miles, then turn left onto OH-159. Continue on OH-159 for approximately ten miles to the village of Tarlton. At the first stop sign, turn right to continue onto OH-159. Remain on OH-159 for one block, then turn right onto Reading Road. Follow Reading Road north for approximately three-quarters of a mile. The entrance to Cross Mound Park will be on the left.
- A 29-acre park containing several ancient earthworks including the Cross Mound, the only known earthwork of its kind.
- The historic Salt Creek Pedestrian Bridge, constructed by the WPA in 1936.
- One-mile trail spanning Salt Creek and includes a moderate incline to Cross Mound.
- Green space featuring an open-air shelter with picnic tables.
- Parking lot that can accommodate up to 25 cars.
Park opens at sunrise and closes at sunset.