Clear Creek Metro Park - Benua Loop Trail & Green Mansions Trail
"Ruin is when man-made has become part of nature." ~ Marco Casagrande
Clear Creek Metro Park Benua Loop Trail & Green Mansions Trail
Clear Creek Metro Park is a beautiful park that has something for everyone. From flat trails and rugged trails to fishing and picnicking. The area is breathtaking and contains prairies as well as thick forests.
Clear Creek Metro Park has several trails. All with varying amounts of elevation change. The Benua Loop Trail is an easy to intermediate level trail. To get to the Green Mansions Trail, you must hike the Benua Loop Trail.
To reach these trails you will need to park in the parking lot located behind the Clear Creek Metro Park Starner House Park Office. From this parking lot, you can also visit Written Rock.
Benua Loop Trail in Clear Creek Metro Park
The Benua Loop trail is approximately a 1.9 mile loop. It is all natural except for a couple of bridges. It is an easy to navigate trail that is surrounded by trees and features a large lake.
The Beuna Loop trail starts by crossing over a large cement bridge. This bridge is known to flood when there has been a lot of rain. If it is flooded, there are no other public ways to get to the trails.
Once you cross the concrete bridge, you will begin down a small path that is fairly flat. You then come up upon a small bride. After the bridge, you veer to the right. On your left, you will pass a cabin that needs some work done to it.
From the cabin, you can go left up the hill or right down a hill. Heading to the right will take you to The Green Mansions Trail (aka Clear Creek Mansion to the locals). The right will take you to Lake Emily. However, since the trail is a loop, you can go either way and see it all.
If you choose to go to the left, the trail continually heads upward. It goes up and up and up.
Once you make it to the top, you will come upon another sign. From there you can go left and visit the Greens Mansion. To the right, you can head to Lake Emily.
Continuing right on the Benua loop trail, you will find yourself on a wide trail that was once an old road. It winds its way down to Lake Emily.
Lake Emily is absolutely beautiful. It would be a great place to have a picnic or enjoy some fishing. There are no swimming, kayaks, or flotation devices permitted on/in the water.
Green Mansions plaque located at Lake Emily at Clear Creek Metro Park
Information is taken directly off sign:
Green Mansions was the home of W.E. Benua and Emily Platt Benua, who explored these hills and valleys. Throughout their lives they learned about the natural world and shared their love of this place with their children and friends. The Benuas have created a living legacy through their generosity that will benefit wildlife and people for generations.
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” John Muir
From Lake Emily at Clear Creek Metro Park the Benua Loop trail heads down over the manmade dam. The trail then gets easy again. It is fairly flat with very few inclines or declines.
Green Mansions Trail in Clear Creek Metro Park
At the split on the Benua Loop trailhead left to explore the Green Mansion Trail and ruins. The path is wide and easy to navigate.
For the most part, the trail declines all the way to the Green Mansion. To get back to the Benua Loop Trail, you must walk the trail back.
Greens Mansion aka Clear Creek Mansion
The once beautiful home of William and Emily Benua is now only just a ruin.
Information is taken directly off sign:
The structural remnants before you are what remains of an impressive home built by William and Emily Benua in the early 1960’s. It was around this same time that the dam was constructed to create Lake Emily in the valley below the home. The Benua’s originally purchased 216acres in this area in 1930; the property was free of structures and a majority of the land had been logged and cleared of all marketable timber. In 1934 a cabin was added to the property where the family spent many weekends and time during the summer. From 1947-1954, William and Emily Benua purchased land holdings in both Hocking and Fairfield County eventually growing the size of their property to over 1200 acres. While the Benua Family owned the land there was extensive planting of white and red pine. Mr. Benua was a known conservationist in Hocking and Fairfield County. During the 1960s, he was instrumental in preventing the construction of a reservoir by the US Army Corp of Engineers in the Clear Creek Valley. In 1991, the will of Emily Benua donated 661 acres of the land to The Nature Conservancy which was later transferred to Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. William and Emily Benua’s conservation efforts during ownership have significantly contributed to the preservation and beauty of Clear Creek Metro Park.
The home and surrounding area is referred to by the Benua family as “Green Mansions.” The name was inspired by the book Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest written by William Henry Hudson in 1904; it was a favorite book of Mr. Benua’s.
Written Rock at Clear Creek Metro Park
While you are visiting the Benua Loop Trail and the Green Mansions Trail at Clear Creek Metro park check out Written Rock. There is a very short trail from the parking lot that will take you over to a large sandstone formation.
You can find out more about Written Rock HERE.
Clear Creek Metro Park is a birding hotspot. According to eBird there have been over 180 species of bird spotted at the park. With 20 of these being breeding warblers.
Additional Hiking Trails & Other Attractions at Clear Creek Metro Park
Other trails located at Clear Creek Metro Park:
Creekside Meadows Trail
Tulip Tree Trail
The parking lot for the Benua Loop Trail is located behind the Clear Creek Metro Park Starner House Park Office. It is a gravel and dirt lot that does get muddy.
From the Benua Loop Trail/ Green Mansions Trail parking lot you can also reach Written Rock.
We love Clear Creek Metro Park and visit often. The Benua Loop Trail and Green Mansions Trail are perfect additions. The park is huge and there is a trail for everyone. From the very easy Creekside Meadows Trail to the challenging Chestnut and Cemetery Ridge Trails.
Unlike the Creekside Meadows Trail, the Benua Loop Trail is very quiet and serene. It is a great trail to get away from it all and see a bit of local history.
The trail is not a hard trail to complete. However, it is just hard enough to give your legs a little bit of a workout.
What You Can Expect at Clear Creek Metro Park Benua Loop Trail & Green Mansions Trail
Please note that trail rules and regulations can change at any time. The following information was in effect for the Benua Loop Trail and Green Mansions Trail as of May 2022.
There are no bathrooms located at this parking lot. However, there are bathrooms located elsewhere throughout the park.
Bicycles are not permitted on the Cemetery Ridge Trail.
Clear Creek Metro Park is an Ohio birding hotpsot.
Concealed carry is permitted.
Pets are not permitted on the Benua Loop Trail or Green Mansions Trail.
Trail is natural and can get muddy is spots.
Limestone parking lot has roughly 8-10 parking spaces.
There is a picnic table located at Green Mansions and one on the dam.
There is no playground.
There are no benches along the trail.
A lot of shade.
No shelter house.
Trails are easy to see.
Trail is easy to moderate.
There are no trash cans.
Clear Creek and Lake Emily
No ADA parking spots.
There are several fishing access spots located along Clear Creek. You can also fish at Lake Emily.