On days when the Ashland Reservoir is too darn full, there's another, lesser-known place to dunk. The Fairy Ponds, a serene, panoramic section of Ashland Creek only a few hundred feet above the reservoir, remains a favorite of water lovers of all ages and species.

On days when the Ashland Reservoir is too darn full, there's another, lesser-known place to dunk. The Fairy Ponds, a serene, panoramic section of Ashland Creek only a few hundred feet above the reservoir, remains a favorite of water lovers of all ages and species.

Unlike the reservoir, your canine counterparts are allowed into The Fairy Ponds. A small poop-bag dispenser guards the trailhead.

All of the ponds are relatively shallow, some of the deepest are only waist-high on most adults, which makes them a perfect place to skip rocks, wade or take pictures. You can even toss a Frisbee in the large, natural-grass field.

The temperature in the ponds is bracingly cool, but it feels good against the hot dryness of a summer day.

The Fairy Ponds are a home for picturesque tree formations, pools with the quality of a mirror and maybe even magic? Trees grow out of the center of a fast-moving stream. Several oaks grow from one root. Natural steppingstones make a labyrinth.

Even if The Fairy Ponds don't contain any otherworldly beings, they're still a great place to chill out under the shade of a magnificent maple, take a stroll down the newly made dirt path or contemplate the mysteries of life near a gurgling creek.

Amelia Covert Zeve is an Ashland-based writer who explores the outdoors and chronicles her adventures for publications. Contact her at ameliacovertzeve@gmail.com

To get there: Take Granite Street 1.2 miles up to the Ashland Reservoir. Continue past the reservoir on to Glenview drive, and follow it upwards. You'll see a gate to your left. The Fairy Ponds trailhead is a few feet above it. The Fairy Ponds trail is short, but you can off road if you want more of a hike.