The Merry Creek Trails are easy, scenic hiking just outside of Castlegar. The trails meander over soft forest floor and explore interesting landmarks, with a big view of the Columbia River Valley at the far end!
Trailhead: Merry Creek FSR
Distance, round trip: 5.1km
Max elevation: 871 m
Min elevation: 788 m
Total climbing: 102 m
Total descent: -109 m
Trailhead & Driving Directions
Leaving Castlegar, drive a few minutes up Highway 3 towards Grand Forks. Pass the Cozy Pines Motel and then 2km later, turn right onto Merry Creek FSR. Drive 2.2km up the FSR and park at the spacious trailhead. The road is in great shape for all vehicles!
Merry Creek is actually a network of 3 main hiking trails (Big Cedar Trail, Merry Valley Trail and the Columbia Trail), with new mountain biking trails (including another great hike – Merry Go Round) just across the road!
As you leave the parking lot and descend into the forest, you’ll come across a large sign with the network mapped out.
All of the trails are gently graded and are ideal for new hikers.
To the View Point
We went straight to the view point, hiking counter-clockwise once the trail branches into a loop. This is a gorgeous trail in the fall with plenty of autumn colour shining in the rain. As we hiked along, the larches gently shed their golden needles onto the forest floor.
There is a scenic bench at the far end of the trail, but the view is mainly overgrown with trees. We found that the best view is up a long mossy rock slope that you pass just before the junction for the view point. The trail traverses beneath the mossy slope, then a faint junction appears on the left to go up towards some navigational equipment – follow it for a great valley view!
Cedars and More!
After the view point, the trail wraps back into Merry Creek Valley.
Taking junctions to stay on the biggest loop, the trail will eventually descend into a swampy old growth grove. There is one monstrous cedar stump in the forest which is super impressive!
We finished the loop in under two hours. It’s not a long hike, but it’s so gentle and scenic that it’s worth the visit!