Clear Creek Metro Park
Clear Creek Metro Park
People rarely wander into parks. They go looking for spaces to enjoy nature, get outdoors, or spend time in solitude. While some desire adventure and excitement, others may be content to explore a park for its natural beauty, ravines, and wildlife. There is plenty of geologic wonder to behold in Clear Creek Metro Park, part of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks system. It is known as an Ohio State Nature Preserve, the largest in the system. Find out why people flock to Clear Creek Metro Park and some of the best features to visit.
Enjoy the View
With over 5,300 acres of woodland mixed in amongst blackhand sandstone cliffs and creeks, there are over 2,000 species of plants and animals to enjoy in the park. There is a last remaining colony of rhododendrons hiding amongst the plants in this beautiful nature preserve. Historically, the valley extends from the intersection of Clear Creek with the Hocking River in the east to Revenge, a small town, in the west. The park officially opened in 1996 to visitors. Rugged terrain makes it an interesting escape for hikers with steep ravines and rocky outcroppings. Open fields demonstrate the wide expanse of valley habitat that is home to plants and animals. Many bird species from bluebirds to the great blue heron and wild turkey call this nature preserve home.
The best way to enjoy the park is to get out there and see for yourself. There are lots of trails to try and experiences to go on. Why not try something new, like fishing, or hiking a moderate trail into the park. Look for trails that loop around rather than blend into the next one for a quick jaunt. Every season brings something different to the park, a unique way to see this part of Ohio from a different lens and to enjoy all that nature has to offer. Lake Ramona may not get the airtime it deserves, but it is a quiet, scenic and beautiful space to engage with nature in a beautiful setting. Clear Creek Park is a great place to explore, wander, and spend time with loved ones.
Moderate to Difficult – Hike – Dirt & Gravel
Begins with a steep zigzag ascent through the woods peaking at about 700 feet. At the top of the ridge the trail alternates between forest and meadows.
Interactive Map: Cemetery Ridge
Difficult – Hike – Dirt & Gravel
Goes through valleys with sandstone formations and crosses forested ridges.
Interactive Map: Chestnut
Easy – Hike/Pets – Grass
Follows the banks of Clear Creek through open fields. A 1-mile section of the trail west of Starner Road is also a pet trail.
Interactive Map: Creekside Meadows
Moderate to Difficult – Hike – Dirt
Goes along a steep ridge and through a forest with pines and hemlocks.
Interactive Map: Fern
Easy – Hike – Dirt & Gravel
Loops around a prairie.
Interactive Map: Good Prairie
Difficult – Hike – Dirt & Gravel
Descends and ascends a steep ravine and goes through shady hemlock groves, sandstone outcroppings, a carpet of ferns and ridges topped with hardwood trees.
Interactive Maps: Hemlock
Moderate to Difficult – Hike – Dirt
Winds through the woods to an observation deck overlooking Lake Ramona.
Interactive Map: Lake
Easy to Moderate – Hike – Dirt
Crosses a rolling hilltop, goes around a meadow and through the woods.
Interactive Maps: Prairie Warbler
Moderate to Difficult – Hike – Dirt
Loops through the woods along a rolling hillside.
Interactive Map: Tulip Tree
Clear Creek Metro Park Trails
Some of the best experiences in the nature preserve come from hiking, walking, and meandering the trails throughout the expansive system of winding pathways. There are easier to more difficult trails for every type of hiker. Here are a few to try:
- Cemetery Ridge: 2.5 miles of moderate to difficult terrain. Peaks at 700 feet with the top of the ridge alternating between forest and meadows
- Creekside Meadows: easier trail, shorter in nature at 1.7 miles. Follows the banks of Clear Creek for a gorgeous water view through open fields. There is a 1 mile section of trail west of Starner road designed as a pet trail and welcomes dogs on leash
- Fern: more moderate to difficult dirt path that goes along a steep ridge into forested areas with scenic beauty all around
- Prairie Warbler: easy to moderate hike for new visitors that crosses a hilltop before going through a meadow into some woods. Very short at .6 miles but worth the views
Clear Creek Metro Park Activities
Even though the nature preserve may seem tame to some who want more adventure (rock climbing, rappelling, and zip lining), there are various parks in Hocking Hills to quench a person’s thirst for adventure. At Clear Creek Metro Park, a slower pace is the name of the game. It is a unique geological space. With a mix of prairie and forest, water and flora, the towering trees have hundreds of years of growth underneath them. With 15 miles of hiking trails, it is worth checking out some of the interesting activities to do while in and around the park. Abundant plants and wildlife make it essential to bring guidebooks and binoculars to more easily identify subjects in their natural habitat. Programs offer visitors educational opportunities that focus on plants, animals, and human history throughout the park. Lake Ramona is a great place to cast a line, launch a kayak or canoe downstream. Fishing access points are dotted throughout the lakefront and are a great way to explore the beauty and serenity of the park.
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