Wetmore Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a lovely hike any time of year!
About Wetmore Trails
Wetmore is a multi-use section of the CVNP. This means hikers, snowshoers and equestrians all have use of the trail. (Note – if you’re hiking, you need to yield to horses, as they have the right of way!) One of the best parts of Wetmore is how versatile it is. I’ve hiked variations of these trails four times and it’s been slightly different every time. The trail has hills, slopes, gravel, clay, and dirt and offers a moderate challenge depending on the season.
The Wetmore Trail area has been incomplete until recently. According to the Conservancy for CVNP, heavy flood damage closed almost a mile of the trail in 2003. The Conservancy launched a comprehensive restoration effort to bring the trail back to a place where hikers and riders could use it. The whole Wetmore area is comprised of about 9 miles in total, but is part of 20 miles of equestrian trails in this region of the CVNP.
According to the CVNP website, many improvements are planned for the Wetmore area. One of the projects includes Wetmore Habitat and Wetland Restoration. Some of the planned improvements include:
- Improve water quality, enhance wildlife habitat, and decrease erosion through the removal invasive species on over 110 acres of degraded habitat including fields, former wetlands, and previously forested land.
- Reforest approximately 29 acres of former pasture, and establish woody vegetation along about 700-linear feet of Dickerson Run.
- Create a small wetland to retain stormwater runoff and improve the condition of up to 1,000-linear feet of streams near the Wetmore Trailhead parking lot using a technique called regenerative stormwater conveyance. This is a technique for restoring streams with a series of steps and pools.
- Reforestation and restoration will include planting native species such as sycamore, red maple, and cottonwood.
Most of the work will be done by park staff and volunteers. If you’re interested in learning how to volunteer for CVNP, click here!
Wetmore Trail Variations
The Wetmore trails are a great pick for intermediate to experiences hikers who are looking for some solitude. Even on busy days in peak season, these trails generally have less traffic than more popular trails like Ledges, Blue Hen, or Brandywine Falls. However, this area can be buggy so if that bothers you, visit between October and March to avoid mosquitoes and gnats.
Wetmore Bridle Trail
This 4.7 mile trail is rated as moderate. It has 557 ft of elevation change. Because of the elevation and uneven footing at times, I would not recommend this hike for beginners or if you have just gotten back into hiking. I felt that the trail was very well marked and had no issues following the signs. It was also well-shaded for most of the hike, so might be a good one for hot summer days!
There are handful of creek crossings on this trail, which can be crossed even after heavy rains. Make sure you have the right shoes on! It can be muddy after rains (much like all CVNP trails), which makes some of the slopes slippery. If attached to an enthusiastic dog, proceed with caution!
Wetmore Outer Loop
Wetmore Outer Loop is the meaner, older sister of Wetmore Bridal Trail. At 6.6 miles and 800 feet of elevation, it is objectively more challenging than the shorter version. When I went in November, there were five creek crossings. I loved this hike. It took about three hours but we were moving pretty quickly. I would leave at least four hours depending on your tolerance for elevation change.
There are two ways to access both Wetmore Bridle and Wetmore Outer Loop. You can park at the trailhead that AllTrails provides in both links (above, in trail description). You can also park at the trailhead that the Full on CVNP 2 map provides and walk across the street to access the trails. (To read more about my experience hiking 115 miles as part of the Full on CVNP 2 Trail Challenge, click here!)
Deer ticks are very common in CVNP from April to November so layer up and make sure you complete a thorough a tick check of both yourself and any hiking companions after the hike.
Looking for more hikes in CVNP? Check out these! Covered Bridge Beaver Marsh Hunt Farm When hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, remember to follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace!