« Hiatus | Main | 2011 Cuyahoga Challenge »

Wetmore/Langes Loop Hike

Wetmore & Langes Loop TrailThe Northeast Ohio Hiking Club sponsored a Meetup to hike the Wetmore & Langes Trails in a 9-mile loop this past Saturday.

It was well-attended (about 15 hikers & two dogs) and we kept up a very quick pace (about 3 mph). The Cuyahoga Valley National Park has a good topo map with the trails marked (pdf) and while a couple of us took the map along, the trails were obvious enough that we didn't risk getting lost. There are also a few trailhead markers when some of the spurs/loops or trails connect. Two of the paths we took had large signs indicating that the bridle trail was closed but we hiked it on foot anyway.

Yes, this is also a bridle trail. If you don't like picking the trail around horse scat or if you don't like how horses can destroy a foot path (see update below), then this may not be the trail for you.

Erythronium americanum (Trout Lily)We started at the Wetmore Trailhead (near the "X"), crossed Wetmore Road and headed south on the Valley Trail. From there, we picked up the Langes Run Trail in a counter-clockwise loop, crossed Wetmore Road again and connected with the Dickerson Run Trail headed west. Joining the Wetmore Trail again we continued west (now clockwise), passed near the parking area and continued the loop north toward Quick Road.

We briefly considered taking the Tabletop Trail and then continuing on the Wetmore or perhaps looping around (counter-clockwise) and adding another 1.6 miles, but that was quickly vetoed.

Instead, we continued west (clockwise) on the Wetmore, duplicated a short section of the trail and ended up at our cars.

Trillium grandiflorum (white Trillium)All together, it was a 9.1 mile hike in just over three hours setting a pace of about 3 miles each hour. We started (and ended) at 850 feet elevation. Our highest point was 1047 feet and our lowest was 730 feet. The GPS indicates that we ascended (and descended) about 1300 feet on this route. To do all of this at once made it a fairly strenuous route for this area.

The trail winds its way through the standard Cuyahoga Valley collection of trees including oaks and hemlocks. We saw Erythronium americanum (Trout Lily) and Trillium grandiflorum (white Trillium) along with four or five different violets.

Wildlife was scarce (with two dogs and fifteen quickly-moving hikers) but I did see some chipmunks and we heard downy woodpeckers, flickers and red-wing blackbirds. This was the same hike we saw the hooded warbler last year during the 2010 Cuyahoga Challenge.

I'm not a big fan of these two trails (Wetmore and Langes) largely because of their dual-use nature with also being bridle trails. As Andrew (the hike leader) said in the Meetup page, these trails are always muddy, even in a late-summer drought. The horses contribute greatly to this, but the trails are also situated on shallow dirt over clay. Just be prepared for mud.

Wetmore Langes Loop profile

Would I hike this again? Probably. Averaging 3mph, it's hard to really care about the trail surface. You just go. Since it was on last year's Cuyahoga Challenge list, it's unlikely to be included in 2011. So I'll gladly hike it again some other year.

Update (20110526): I found this quote about shared horse/hiker trails on a Captain Blue blogpost (he's section hiking the Buckeye Trail) that I thought I'd share:

Whenever a footpath is shared by horses and hikers the hikers usually get the losing end of the deal. The trail was doubly muddy from all the hoof prints. Every hoof print makes an indentation which becomes a small puddle. The small puddles make one long stretch of muddy trail.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 2, 2011 11:24 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Hiatus.

The next post in this blog is 2011 Cuyahoga Challenge.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.