July 27, 2017
CVNP has more than 100 miles of trails, and they’re gorgeous in every season, especially during these sunny summer months. With so much mileage to explore, though, it can be hard to know where to begin—so we’re here to help you out.
This week, we’re highlighting one of the lesser-known trail systems in the national park: the Wetmore Trail system. Yes, it’s a horseback riding trail, but it’s also fantastic for hiking and trail running. Just be sure to yield to any horses you encounter along the way.
Wetmore Trail gets its name from Frederick and Emila Wetmore, landowners from the late 1800s. Prior to the area’s purchase by the National Park Service in 1984, the area was primarily used for breeding Morgan and thoroughbred horses. Today, the Wetmore Trail system follows old logging roads and horse paths through deep woodlands and pastures.
We took a trek on Wetmore Trail to check out some of its coolest features. Here’s what we found:
As you start off on the Wetmore Trail loop, heading counterclockwise, you’ll come upon a shallow stream on your left. This is Dickerson Run, which appears throughout the hike, meandering through the hillsides and woodlands.
You likely won’t encounter many other folks on this out-of-the-way section of CVNP, so enjoy the peacefulness of the clear-running stream. Don’t forget to wear a pair of old shoes on this trail, as you’ll encounter a few shallow crossings over Dickerson Run and muddy areas, especially after a heavy rain.
Although there’s a variety of different terrain throughout the Wetmore Trail system, most of the trail loop is dominated by woodlands. After you climb up the steep slope out of the Dickerson Run valley, you’ll encounter stands of towering red maples and beech trees, rising vertically toward the sky.
Continuing along the high grounds of this portion of trail, you’ll come across pockets of evergreens, including red and white pines and spruces, that waft the sweet scent of pine needles in your direction.
The trail continues to take you through many different types of woodlands, including sunnier areas dominated by tulip trees, large old oaks, and buckeyes. Eastern peewees, black-capped chickadees, and white-breasted nuthatches abound—and you might even spy a pileated woodpecker, with his bright flash of red.
On the southeastern stretch of Wetmore Trail, you’ll venture briefly into an open meadow, formerly a horse pasture. Grasses and prairie flowers appear here, including the monarch butterfly’s favorite plant: milkweed.
Prairie birds, like the chipper little American goldfinch, flit across the landscape—or you may see a great blue heron flying overhead, looking for a cool area to rest.
Without the hard work of TRAILS FOREVER donors and volunteers, including the Medina County chapter of the Ohio Horseman’s Council and the Cuyahoga Valley Trails Council, these trails simply wouldn’t exist. Thank you for your support—you’re helping us build a world-class trail system in northeast Ohio.