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Decades in the making, at long last the Hemlock Creek Trail opened to the public in September 2019, giving residents of the Ohio community of Independence a convenient and scenic trail connection to the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, which runs for over 80 miles through four counties. The Hemlock Creek Trail may not offer quite so much length, but it does provide a lovely paved pathway through the woods along the creek, just west of the snaking Cuyahoga River.
The trail's western end in Independence begins at the city's Elmwood Park, home to a sprawling recreation campus of sports fields, pools and playgrounds. A concrete sidepath runs out to Selig Boulevard, and heading east trail users will soon come to the start of the asphalt trail proper, on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic Business Operations Center.
The rest of the path abandons the suburban setting and fully immerses trail users in the forested expanse that surrounds the creek. The trail runs slightly downhill as it heads east toward the river, utilizing a series of bridges to cross over Hemlock Creek. Numerous benches line the route, giving ample opportunity for rest and relaxation; just after crossing the Cuyahoga River and around the two-mile mark, the trail comes to an end at a junction with the Towpath Trail in the village of Valley View.
The Hemlock Creek Trail is part of a planned trail network called the West Creek Greenway, which hopes to one day create a link between parks and communities in Parma Heights all the way to Valley View. The Hemlock Creek Trail is a lovely start, bringing together neighborhoods in Independence and Valley View and giving the communities a beautiful connection with the broader area trail network.
Parking and restrooms are available in Independence at Elmwood Park, located at 6200 Elmwood Avenue, and access is also available at the Cleveland Clinic Business Operations Center, at 6801 Brecksville Road. Please follow any posted parking signs and regulations.
Local buses also offer a convenient stop at Selig Boulevard and Brecksville Road, providing access to the western end of the trail.
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