Merrick State Park feels like a small park, though it’s not among the smallest overall.
The DNR site currently says there are just 2 miles of hiking trails in the entire park.
That’s not quite true.
When we hiked in Merrick (the day after tackling Brady’s Bluff in Perrot State Park), we found several unmapped trails that almost led us astray.
Part of the reason for our confusion along the trails was that, except for the loop near the south campground, they are very poorly marked.
When I say “poorly marked”, I mean there are virtually no directional signs to be found.
Even the rare signpost like this one (below) is nearly hidden in the trees.
You can only see it fairly well in this shot because I was crouching down to take the shot.
Rock in the House
On the way to Merrick, we stopped at the Rock in the House.
Merrick is also one of the more unusually-shaped parks. I suppose it has something to do with its history, but it sure seems strange that that angular indentation in the center of the eastern border is an area that contains several private houses.
The Spider Web Trail
The 2 miles of trails in Merrick are not named. So, we decided to name the loop that covers much of the central section of the park the Spider Web Trail.
Here’s one of the reasons why.
This web above was the most spectacular one we saw. There was another one aloft along the trail, but the sunlight wasn’t catching like it did for this one. There were also several large horizontal webs on the floor of the woods.
We could have called this the Spider Web and Mushroom Trail, due to the many types of mushrooms we found.
Related, there was this shelf fungus growing on a tree that had fallen (or perhaps had been cut…I don’t remember) beside the path.
Speaking of fallen trees, I had to duck to get under the furthest one.
We heard several types of birds, but these crows almost seemed to be following us around.
This (closed) Nature Center was where we started and ended our first loop. It looked like (through the window) that it had some interesting items inside, but we couldn’t get at them.
The QR Trail
The other loop we hiked I’m going to call the QR Trail because it had 11 signs along the way that each had a QR code on them.
Getting to the trail was a bit awkward. There is no parking lot at the trailhead. You have to walk maybe 100 yards along the road to get to the trail. Poor planning.
As you can see below, this QR sign indicates the highest point in Merrick State Park. (That’s not saying a lot.)
As we approached this loop, we came to a fork in the road, so to speak. I decided to go to the left and hike it clockwise. It turned out that that’s not what the creators intended. We encountered the QR signs in reverse order – from 11 to 2. (Sign #1 was back at the start of the trail before we got to the fork.)
Along the way, there are two spurs that each have a wooden stairway leading down to the water.
Across the water from the first one I descended, is this large bluff.
At the water’s edge (and elsewhere) were some of these brilliant red flowers.
Across the water from the second one, is Osprey Bluff. (I don’t recall the other bluff being named, but it probably is.)
One of the QR signs mentioned an invasive vine that can choke trees to death. I think this is what it was talking about.
We noticed two tiny (about an inch or so long) frogs / toads along the path. Here’s one of them.
Back at the small parking lot, there is this swing that we tried out for a while.
Boating seems to be a popular activity in Merrick. We saw many boating trailers in one of the lots.
Merrick is a nice little state park. Maybe we’re getting to be “park snobs”, but I think they could do a much better job of marking the trails – even if (or because?) there are only 2 miles of them.
Fountain City, Wisconsin (4 miles)
Nearest Emergency Facility
Arcadia, Wisconsin (23 miles)
6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, year-round
Vehicle admission sticker required