Some of Merkel’s party were already on board the plane.
Snowstorm Stella has prompted airlines to cancel thousands of flights and some mayors to order schools to close on Tuesday.
The White House later said the visit would be rescheduled for Friday.
“The trip is cancelled. That is not a joke,” Merkel told the dozen or more surprised reporters already seated on board the government’s Airbus A340 plane.
Merkel had been due to meet Trump for more than two hours on Tuesday, followed by a working lunch.