Historic Yates Mill County Park, at 6420 Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh, is a 174-acre wildlife refuge and an environmental research center.
The centerpiece is the Historic Yates Mill, which is the last operable water-powered gristmill in Wake County. The mill is on the National Register of Historic Places and was restored to working order in 2005.
Admission to the park is free. Right now, there are no tours or in-person programs taking place, but we hope they’ll resume soon. In the meantime, you’re welcome to explore the park on your own. There are also some virtual events coming up. Read on to see what’s coming up, as well as to learn more about the park and the mill.
The water-powered gristmill has been operational for more than 200 years. There were once 70 gristmills in Wake County, and this is the only one that is still in operation.
Gristmills are used for grinding corn, wheat and other grains into flour. A stream of water is guided into a waterwheel. This provides the power to rotate large millstones that crush the grain into smaller pieces. You’ll find gristmills near a source of running water, like a waterfall, or a dam.
Modern mills, on the other hand, use electricity to spin heavy steel or cast iron rollers.
In rural areas, before there were towns, gristmills were gathering spots for fishing, swimming and picnicking.
Today, you can fish at Historic Yates Mill County Park. There are also walking trails, gardens, a picnic area, and interpretive exhibits and trails.
Upcoming Events at Historic Yates Mill County Park
Although in-person programming is not happening right now, there are virtual events. Here’s one, and check back soon for more.
Virtual Program: Celebrating Corn
Thursday, June 17, 11:00-11:45 a.m.
In honor of National Corn on the Cob Day (which takes place on June 11), join this virtual program to discover how people have raised and harvested this crop over the centuries; see how corn is processed into cornmeal at Historic Yates Mill; and learn about the many different types of corn (did you know that the sweetcorn you eat on the cob is different from the corn used in cornmeal?). We may even read a few poems, tell some “corny” jokes, and visit the park’s Three Sisters Garden where we raise corn, plus we’ll share corn craft ideas and a cornmeal recipe you can try at home! For ages 7 & up (the program is designed for kids and adults); FREE. Registration is required for all participants. A Zoom link will be sent out by email on the morning of the program. Registration: http://apm.activecommunities.com/wakeparks/Activity_Search/5034
Virtual Program: A Panoply of Pollinators
Tuesday, June 22, 11:00-11:45 a.m.
National Pollinator Week is an annual event celebrated internationally in support of pollinator health. Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other animals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. They help plants reproduce and sustain our ecosystems. Join us online to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what we can do to protect them. See what a pollinator sees through a guided field exploration and a garden tour of some of our park gardens. For ages 5 & up (the program is designed for kids and adults); FREE. Registration is required for all participants. A Zoom link will be sent out by email on the morning of the program. Registration: http://apm.activecommunities.com/wakeparks/Activity_Search/5035
StoryWalk®: The Legend of the Beaver’s Tail
From June 1 through June 30
Read a children’s book while you enjoy a nature walk. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Our June story is The Legend of the Beaver’s Tail as told by Stephanie Shaw and illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen. Join us for this fun self-guided activity which begins at the parking lot kiosk, heads out across the Pond Boardwalk, and ends along the park’s Mill Pond Trail before you reach the Wetlands Boardwalk. This hike is around 0.5 miles, there and back again.
Upcoming Events in the Triangle -- both virtual and in-personCheck out our full events calendar, where you can enter any date, or look at the events for the next few days here:
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Friday, June 25, 2021
Saturday, June 26, 2021