Clear Creek Metro Park
Rugged, challenging trails running up and down over sometimes steep hills provide a large variety of surfaces. Some of the trails are not suited for the beginning barefoot hiker. The terrain can provide a workout for even the experienced hiker. Everyone will love the beauty of the park, however. Between the high hill tops and the low stream beds expect a surprisingly wide temperature variance.
I recommend driving to the second parking lot. Take the Creekside Meadows trail west leg to the Hemlock Trail and from there to the Fern Trail. Follow the Fern Trail the long way around for a 3.2 mile hike.
For a shorter hike, again from the second parking lot, take the Fern Trail only, following it in a 2 mile loop.
For a longer hike over the best part, park at the first parking lot. Take the Creekside Meadows Trail central leg to the Hemlock Trail. Continue on the Fern Trail (Hemlock Trail to Cemetery Ridge Trail connector) and then on the Cemetery Ridge Trail until you reach the beginning of the gravel (about 0.3 miles). Turn around and return the same way for a 5.3 mile hike.
Head east From Lancaster, OH on US Route 33, about 8 miles east of Broad Street. Take the second right past the Hocking County line on County Road 116, heading west. ETD Food Mart (Shell Oil) is on the corner. Follow County Road 116 two miles to the first parking lot. Along the way you will pass by Leaning Lena, a rather large rock outcrop. You will pass under it when you leave. Caution - the road narrows under the rock on a blind curve - slow down!
The first parking lot, Creek Side Meadows Picnic Area, has no water. There are a few picnic tables and one portable vault toilet.
The second parking lot, Fern Picnic Area is one mile further straight past the first on a dirt road. There is no water. There are a couple of picnic tables and one portable vault toilet.
A third picnic area with water and real restrooms is a couple of miles further down the road. It has typical Metro Parks gravel trails.
Clear Creek Metro Park location and trail maps.
Metro Parks has a page about Clear Creek Metro Park.
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