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© Bud Schrader Photography

Clear Creek Metro Park

The Clear Creek valley extends from the intersection of Clear Creek with the Hocking River in the east to the town of Revenge in the west. In 1996 the valley officially opened as Clear Creek Metro Park, part of the Franklin County Metro Parks system. The beauty of the Clear Creek valley comes from the overlap of geologic and climate zones. Here the prairies of the west meet the Appalachian forests of the east. Canadian hemlocks pushed south by glaciers meet southern species such as rhododendron. And it all rests on a bedrock of Blackhand sandstone.

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Before the Dam, Still -

The topography of the park is extremely rugged, with many steep ravines, rock outcroppings and cliff faces. While hemlocks and ferns prefer the cool ravines, the hillsides are covered with oak forests. Open fields on the ridgetops and in the valley provide habitat for meadow plants and animals, and wetlands along the creek create homes for sycamore trees and waterfowl.

Over 1200 plant species have been identified in Clear Creek. Among the standouts are mountain laurel, little gray polypody, maidenhair ferns, horsetail, pink ladyslipper, skunk cabbage, witch hazel, American chestnut, and persimmon trees.

The valley is home to over 150 species of birds, including black vultures, eastern bluebirds, veeries, wood thrush, great blue heron, woodcock, wild turkey, and many species of warblers.

Evidence of beaver activity is easily found near the creek, but bobcats live more secretive lives among the rock ledges. Chipmunks rustle among fallen leaves and deer sightings are frequent.

© Bud Schrader Photography
Clear Creek Barn - Turn West onto Clear Creek Road from Rt. 33 and it's the first thing you see on the right.

Much of the land in Clear Creek Metro Park comes from three sources. The Allen F. Beck and Emily Benua families had been acquiring and preserving valley properties for decades, and Oscar Barnebey owned valley land on which the Camp Indianola church camp was built. The Ohio State University later converted the church camp to the Barnebey Center, a natural resources lab. In the late 1960's there was talk of damming the valley and turning it into a reservoir. After this project was defeated, the Beck and Benua families began donating their land to the Franklin County Metro Park system. When OSU abandoned the Barnebey Center, Metro Parks was able to buy it. The park now contains about 5,000 acres of woods and fields.

Clear Creek Metro Park will always retain its semi-primitive nature. Future development will provide more trails, picnic spots, and areas for nature program presentations, but there will also be sections kept closed to the public for the preservation of rare and endangered species.

© Bud Schrader Photography
Written Rock - Many carvings on this rock, hence the name. Clear Creek Road near Rockbridge.

Picnic areas and trailheads are located at several points along Clear Creek road.

Location Map
Calendar of Events
METRO FIVE-0: Level 4 Backcountry Pond Study
Wed Sep 20

10:00 am

Take a rugged 4-mile hike and see what lives in a remote pond. Please be prepared to hike over hilly and uneven terrain. Please bring drinking water.

Age 50 and older.

Meeting Place: Park Office, 185 Clear Creek Road, Rockbridge, OH 43149

Cost: Free Event

Contact: Clear Creek Metro Park, Phone: 740-969-9001

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Half the Trails in a Day
Sat Sep 30

9:30 am. Adults and Seniors.

We will hike 7-miles on the trails and see a variety of habitats along the way. Hikers who complete this hike and the October 28th hike will have hiked all the trails at Clear Creek. Please bring drinking water. Parts of this hike will be hilly and rugged.

Meeting Place is Barnebey-Hambleton Picnic Area

Barnebey-Hambleton Picnic Area

Clear Creek Road

Lancaster, OH 43130

Cost: Free Event

Contact: Clear Creek Metro Park, Phone: 740-969-9001

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Metro Five-0: Metro Park Tour Level 3
Wed Oct 4

Call for Times.

Bring your lunch and join us for a 4-hour natural and cultural history tour of Clear Creek Metro Park. Participants have the option of departing from Sharon Woods Metro Park. Transportation throughout the park provided. Age 50 and older.

The passenger vans are not wheelchair accessible. We will be eating indoors at a park cabin. This tour will be held rain or shine. At the park we will spend time outside, depending on the weather, so dress accordingly and wear good walking shoes. The trails are not paved. Leaving Sharon Woods around 9:00 am and return around 4:00 pm.

Cost: Free Event

Contact: Clear Creek Metro Park, Phone: 614-895-6201

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Wildlife,
Memory Rock Sunday Special
Sun Oct 8

11:00 am - 1:00 pm starts.

Take a rugged 4-mile, self paced, hike to Memory Rock. Volunteers will help you find your way. Average hikers will finishing this hike in about 2 hours. Please bring drinking water and be prepared to hike over hilly terrain.

Age Range 12 and up.

Meeting Place: Clear Creek Park Office, 185 Clear Creek Road, Rockbridge, OH 43149

Cost: Free Event

Contact: Clear Creek Metro Park, Phone: 740-969-9001

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Wildlife,
Metro Five-0: Level 4 Hike to Buzzards Roost
Fri Oct 20

1:00 pm.

Take a rugged 4-mile backcountry hike to Buzzards Roost.

Ages 50 and older.

Be prepared to hike over hilly and uneven terrain. Please bring drinking water.

Meeting place: Barnebey-Hambleton Picnic Area, Clear Creek Road, Lancaster, OH 43130

Cost: Free Event

Contact: Clear Creek Metro Park, Phone: 614-895-6201

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Wildlife,
Half the Trails in a Day
Sat Oct 28

9:30 am. Adults and Seniors.

We will hike 7-miles on the trails and see a variety of habitats along the way. Hikers who complete this hike and the September 30th hike will have hiked all the trails at Clear Creek. Please bring drinking water. Parts of this hike will be hilly and rugged.

Meeting Place is Barnebey-Hambleton Picnic Area

Barnebey-Hambleton Picnic Area

Clear Creek Road

Lancaster, OH 43130

Ages Adults and Seniors.

Cost: Free Event

Contact: Clear Creek Metro Park, Phone: 740-969-9001

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
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