Clear Creek Metro Park - Cemetery Ridge Trail
"An orchid in a deep forest sends out its fragrance even if no one is around to appreciate it." ~ Confucius
Cemetery Ridge Trail
Clear Creek Metro Park has several hiking trails. They vary from easy to difficult. Cemetery Ridge Trail isn’t a trail for a casual stroll. The beginning of the trail will get your heart rate up. But once you make it to the top, the trail turns more moderate.
Creekside Meadows Trail East Loop
The easiest way to get to the Cemetery Ridge Trail at Clear Creek Metro Park is by parking at the Creekside Meadows Picnic Area. There is a short trail through a prairie that leads you to Clear Creek Road. The Cemetery Ridge trail head is located on the other side of the road.
Cemetery Ridge Trail
Cemetery Ridge Trail is all-natural and can be very muddy in spots. It starts off steep and continues uphill for approximately 700’ with a 260' elevation change. It winds back and forth through the woods. This is the most difficult part of the trail. Once you reach the ridge, it becomes much easier to walk. Although there are still inclines and declines.
Continuing down the trail, the scenery alternates between forest and prairies. Cemetery Ridge Trail meets ups with the Chestnut Trail. The Cemetery Ridge Trail veers to the left. It continues on for a short distance until it meets up with the Fern Trail.
Yellow-lady Slipper Orchid
Not long after you reach the top the trail widens and continues through the forest. You will come upon a protected Yellow-lady Slipper Orchid on the left.
Information is taken directly off Sign
This trail side exclosure is here to protect a yellow-lady slipper from being grazed by deer. This beautiful, native orchid is rare in our area. We want to make sure this one continues to thrive for park visitors to enjoy. You can usually see this plant in bloom from early to mid-May.
Williams Family Barn
About a mile into the trail there is an old barn that sits off the left-hand side. The barn is surrounded by trees and sits a short distance back off the trail.
Information is taken directly off sign
The Changing Face of the Land
All that remains of the 240-acre Williams family farm is this Pennsylvania 3-bay barn and forebay, or overshoot. Edmund Williams acquired his first parcel in 1837, paying $1.25 an acre. The 56 x 29-foot barn is mostly made of pine and features hand-hewn posts and beams. Smaller support lumber was cut with a two-person pit saw or water-powered sash saw. Vertical marks from the saw are visible on some of the smaller braces and beams.
Today, the land around the barn is heavily forested, showing little evidence of the cleared ridge top that existed in the 1800s when the farm was alive with crops and livestock.
1838 tax records show six sawmills were located along Clear Creek and the nearby Hocking River at Millville (now Rockbridge). The Fern Trail was actually an old roadway that came up to this ridge from Clear Creek. There was a water mill located along Clear Creek downstream from the Fern Parking lot at the time this barn was built.
Getting Back to the Parking Lot
Cemetery Ridge Trail does not Loop. To get back to the parking lot you can either turn around and go back or make your own loop. There are a couple of different trails that you can take. For our trip, we chose to take Fern Trail to Hemlock Trail. Hemlock Trail ends on Clear Creek Road. There is a short connecting trail that meets up with Creekside Meadows Trail. Take a left on the trail and follow Clear Creek to the parking lot. Our total distance was 7.6 miles.
Clear Creek Metro Park has more than 2,200 species of plants and animals. It is located in Fairfield and Hocking Counties and is comprised of 5300 acres. 4769 of these acres are the Allen F. Beck State Nature Preserve.
Clear Creek Metro Park is known for its vast variety of plants, wildflowers and fungi. Pictured are a few flowers that we saw blooming along the Cemetery Ridge Trail. We were a few days late to see the Yellow-lady Slipper Orchid in bloom.
Clear Creek Metro Park is a birding hotspot. There have been over 150 species of bird spotted at the park. With 20 of these being breeding warblers.
We visited Cemetery Ridge Trail during the heat of the day. So the birds were vocal, but not many were making themselves seen. Pictures is a tree swallow that was posing on the Creekside Meadows Trail.
The Cemetery Ridge Trail isn't for everyone. The beginning is rugged and steep. There was quite a few people complaining and one guy looked as though he was going to pass out. If you are going to hike the trail take it slow and have plenty of water.
From the Creekside Meadows Picnic Area, you can get to:
Creekside Meadows Trail (easy walking trail)
Cemetery Ridge Trail (rugged to moderate hiking trail)
What You Can Expect at Clear Creek Metro Park Cemetery Ridge Trail
Please note that trail rules and regulations can change at any time. The following information was in effect for Cemetery Ridge Trail as of May 2020.
The bathroom was clean.
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 Cemetery Ridge Trail.
Trail is natural and can get muddy is spots.
Limestone parking lot with 20 parking spaces.
There are picnic tables at the parking lot.
There is no playground.
There was one bench available along Cemetery Ridge Trail. And one on Creekside Meadows Trail.
A lot of shade.
No shelter house.
Trails are easy to see.
Trail is difficult to moderate.
There was a trashcan at the parking lot.
The parking lot is located along Clear Creek.
No ADA parking spots.
There are several fishing access spots located along Clear Creek.