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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.

© Bud Schrader Photography
Clear Creek Looking West - It really is a beautiful drive and nice creek, esp. in winter.

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

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
Rock Overhang on Clear Creek Road - One of the first points of interest going out Clear Creek Road. Just off of Rt. 33 near Rockbridge.

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

Location Map
Calendar of Events
Homeschoolers: Winged Wonders
Fri Apr 28

1:00 pm.

Explore the fascinating world of bird flight as we look at wings, feathers and a few live birds.

This program is intended for school aged children.

Meeting Place is Barnebey-Hambleton Picnic Area

Barnebey-Hambleton Picnic Area

Clear Creek Metro Park

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: Level 4 Birding
Fri Apr 28

9:00 am. Ages 50 and up.

Hike up to 2-miles looking and listening for birds. Age 50 and older.

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: Level 4 Wildflowers
Fri Apr 28

9:00 am.

Hike up to 2-miles to see some of Clear Creeks most beautiful spring wildflowers. Ages 50 and up.

Meeting Place is Creekside Meadows Parking Lot

Creekside Meadows Parking Lot

23833 Co. Rd. 116 (Clear Creek Rd.)

Rockbridge, OH 43149

Cost: Free Event

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

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Late Shift Birds
Sat Apr 29

7:30 pm.

Enjoy the end of the day bird chorus and watch and listen for nocturnal birds. Ages 8 and up.

Meeting Place is Thomas-Mathias Parking Lot

Thomas-Mathias Parking Lot

24950 Co. Rd. 116 (Clear Creek Rd.)

Rockbridge, OH 43149

Cost: Free Event

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

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Birding FOR kids BY kids
Sat Apr 29

1:00 pm.

Hike up to 2-miles with the Ohio Young Birders Club. Listen and look for birds and learn some identification skills. Ages 8 and up.

Bring binoculars if you have them.

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,
Advanced Birding
Sun Apr 30

8:00 am.

Join John Watts, Metro Parks' Resource Manager, to look for some of Clear Creek's most spectacular spring migrants. Ages 8 and up.

Meeting Place is Creekside Meadows Parking Lot

Creekside Meadows Parking Lot

23833 Co. Rd. 116 (Clear Creek Rd.)

Rockbridge, OH 43149

Cost: Free Event

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

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Creek Exploration
Sat May 20

1:00 pm.

Wade in Clear Creek to learn about the variety of fish and insects that live in the creek and why the creek is such a diverse habitat.

Be prepared to get your feet wet. Closed-toe shoes or boots are required. Children must be accompanied by an adult in order to get in the creek. Ages 5 and up.

Meeting Place is Park Office

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,
Backcountry Hike to Winnowing Rock
Mon May 29

10:00 am.

Take a 4-mile backcountry hike through the meadows and forests.

This hike will be approximately 4-miles and last about 3-hours. The route is hilly and portions may be wet or muddy. Please be prepared. This hike is not recommended for young children.

Meeting Place is Park Office

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,
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