If you’re like us, you have heard of Clepper Park but have never been there. Located at 4722 Summerside Drive in Union Township, it was much more than we expected, and we were glad we finally made a point of going there. Not only was there an excellent walking trail, there were recreation amenities of all kinds, and some surprises too.
We walked on Sunday, Oct. 23, at 11:30 a.m., with a temperature of 63 degrees, sunny and breezy. The first thing we noticed as we entered the park was a large freshly paved asphalt parking lot beside a basketball court with eight baskets. Beyond that was a field marked off for football, including bleachers. And if this wasn’t enough, we saw that the road in the park went past the football field to another field and large parking lot.
We began our walk at the first parking lot, entering a flat, wide, nicely maintained asphalt trail. The trail ran along the edge of the field with the backyards of houses in a subdivision along one side of the park, and trees along the other side. There was a fork in the trail, and we turned left just past the football field, and found ourselves in a beautiful wooded stretch of the trail. A large pond soon appeared on our right, complete with benches and a fountain in the center. We were completely immersed in nature at this point, with nothing but the sounds of song birds and water gurgling in the pond to sooth us, and the beautiful colors of autumn trees to feed our souls.
This stretch soon gave way to the second parking lot and continued around a huge field full of recreational amenities. There were soccer fields, several shelters with picnic tables, a baseball field, a playground and another entrance to the park on Klatte Road. Trees lined the trail as it circled the field, and ran beside a large salt storage dome near the end. The length of the trail was marked on the asphalt, showing it measured one mile.
Restrooms: There was a brick building at each parking lot with restrooms that were open.
Traffic Noise: There was some traffic noise in the distance.
Interesting Features: We were impressed with the amount of recreational amenities at this park, and the easy access to the walking trail, which had multiple entrances, including walkways to the subdivision beside it.
Historic Points of Interest: According to www.union-township.oh.us, Clepper Park resides in one of the earliest areas of pioneer settlement in Union Township. It is situated near the intersection of State Route 32 and Aicholtz Road, which was the site of the Summerside Station for the Cincinnati & Portsmouth Railroad in the 1870s. State Route 32 was a toll road in 1798 known as State Road, and Summerside road was one of the first roads in the area, and originally little more than a wagon track. The railroad went out of business in 1935, during the Great Depression.
Overall Rating: We really enjoyed our walk at Clepper Park, and were pleasantly surprised with all that it had to offer. Everything was in excellent condition and properly maintained. We were two of very few people there at that time, and we wondered how the walking experience would be if we were there during sporting events, as the park looked capable of accommodating a lot of people. What it lacked by not being a full nature experience, it made up for by being a pleasant and easy place for a quick walk, with enough nature to calm you. A great place to stretch your legs and get your heart pumping as jog or walk happily along.