Date: June 23, 2015 (Jill); July 3, 2016 (Raina)
Distance: Less than .10 miles (depending on where you park)
Elevation: 1,550 feet
Bathrooms: Gas station a few miles away
Hours: Open Monday-Friday 6:30 am – 10:00 pm and Saturday from 6:30 am – 3:00 pm. For Sunday access, call the Hi Point Career Center (937-599-3010) in advance and select the option for “grounds.”
Hiram College, my alma mater, is a fine liberal arts school that few have ever heard of. The village of Hiram hosts two traffic lights, a home of President James A. Garfield, and the distinction of being the second highest inhabited point in the state of Ohio. Until a few weeks ago I had never seen the highest point, but I had set my expectations on a really high hill.
Driving in this is what we saw. Flat farms and roads. I thought there was no way that we were going to find a higher hill than Hiram. I did some furious googling. The internet said Campbell Hill is about three hundred feet taller than Hiram; my eyes and Hiram Terrier pride said the internet was full of it. But then we got to the highpoint, and it was tall. Sigh.
Once I got over my desire to disprove Campbell Hill as Ohio’s highpoint, I actually quite enjoyed it. It was easy to find, and there was cell service and a lovely breeze the whole time we were there. The town of Bellefontaine where the highpoint is located showed proper pride. When you exit the highway you see the Hi-Point Church, and Campbell Hill itself is located within the grounds of the Hi-Point Career Center. We took advantage of the visitor parking, and took a short walk up the hill to visit the well marked highpoint. The USGS marker is located in between the two benches that were thoughtfully placed at the top of the hill.
When you visit Campbell Hill you mustn’t miss the register! When you approach the highpoint you will see a brick pillar with the words “Highest Point In Ohio” written on it. Facing the pillar, if you open the drawers in the right hand side you’ll find a register, certificates of achievement, and local tourist information. I almost didn’t catch on that there was this secret treasure hidden in the pillar, and I would have been so disappointed if I had found out about it later.
We didn’t have our kids with us on this trip, but they would have enjoyed running up and down the hill picking wildflowers. Other than that there wasn’t much to do at the highpoint, so we didn’t stay long.
NOTE: If you visit on a Sunday, the walking gate is several yards to the left of the vehicle gate. Remember to call first to let them know you’ll be visiting during off-hours. The woman I spoke with was super nice and very welcoming to highpointers. Once on the grounds, head toward the flag pole on the right.
We didn’t know if we were allowed to use the bathrooms at the career center, so we headed west on Rt. 540 from the highpoint. We were glad we did because we ran across the first cement road in the country! We also found a gas station and a Dairy Queen a few miles down the road.
Campbell Hill is only about 45 minutes from Columbus and 2 1/2 hours from our home base of Cleveland. If you stay in Cleveland I highly recommend a walk in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The trails are wide, well maintained, and gorgeous any time of year.
We also enjoyed a trip to the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio (his hometown).
If you’re staying in Columbus, be sure to have breakfast at Katalina’s. They make amazing Pancake balls, good coffee, and encourage you to draw directly on the table! A few minutes before they opened, they had a line of 25+ people, which seems to be the norm. One guy in line flies from San Antonio twice/year just for their breakfast. While you’re there, look for the Summit Chicks note on one of the picnic table benches.