The Merry Go Round trail winds high through the forest to a clearcut view of the Columbia River Valley. The trail builders created some impressive bridges and boardwalks, making this easy trail feel like a proper adventure! This trailhead is right beside the Merry Creek Trails, giving you two great hikes for one day!
Trailhead: Merry Creek FSR
Distance, round trip: 4.7km
Max elevation: 1021 m
Min elevation: 789 m
Total climbing: 241 m
Total descent: -235 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!
Once you’ve parked, cross the road to get to the kiosk for the Merry Go Round trail. It’s part of a small network of mountain biking trails and is the only multi-use route. The main Merry Creek Trails also begin from the same parking area, starting on the same side of the road as the cars.
Winding through the forest
The Merry Go Round trail winds through the forest over smooth and looping switchbacks. It’s designed to be a climbing trail for mountain bikes so the grade is easy hiking.
As you hike, watch out for mountain bikes flying down. They have their own descent trails nearby, but you never know if they’ll come whipping down on the green Merry Go Round trail.
The trail crosses a series of curved boardwalks and then switchbacks higher until it crosses an impressive bridge:
Through the clearcut
The trail reaches a high clearcut with distance views of the Columbia River Valley. In early November, the larches were glowing gold along the upper trail.
We watched an airplane take-off from the Castlegar airport and fly through a rainbow near Mount Sentinel.
At last, the trail ends when it intersects with a spur of the Merry Creek FSR. Another mountain bike trail “Mr Green Jeans” starts to climb higher, but there were bikers ripping down.
We hiked up the forest service road to a switchback above the end of the Merry Go Round trail, looking for a scenic lunch spot. We settled on venturing off the trail to a bluff that overlooked a clearcut. The view wasn’t quite as good as further back down the trail, but the fall colours were great!