Hiking Merrill Creek Reservoir’s Perimeter Trail in the snow on a beautiful winter day.
With several inches of snow still on the ground, we decided to head out to Merrill Creek Reservoir. We hadn’t been since November of 2010 (“Merrill Creek Reservoir in November“).
It was a beautiful winter day with sunny blue skies and nearly 40 degrees – so welcome after all the snow and bitter cold this winter.
For detailed hike directions, maps, GPX, and photos, visit our “Merrill Creek Reservoir” page.
We decided to follow the same route as last time – hitting the RED and BLUE trails from the visitor center then make our way over to the Perimeter Trail to circle the reservoir.
While the trails were quite worn down, they were a bit slippery from the melt-thaw cycle so we soon stopped and put on our MICROspikes.
Snowshoes would have been overkill but would have been OK and later we saw a few people using them.
The reservoir was frozen and there were animal footprints everywhere in the snow.
As we got to the edge of the reservoir we saw what was making such a racket – thousands of snow geese were out on the water. A few minutes down the trail we saw them all take flight, moving gracefully in unison and then settling back down.
At one end of the reservoir there are many dead tree stumps sticking out of the reservoir which is pretty cool.
The snow got deeper and less trafficked after the footbridge until after the NW1 dike, then it became packed again.
We soon entered into a section of pine forest where many of the trees were felled by the storms of the last few years. It looked very different since we were last here.
We crossed over the main dam and then the SE dike with wonderful views of the reservoir and the snow geese before the final stretch over a gravel utility road.
Wildlife spotted: thousands of snow geese