Top 10 Things to do at Merchants Millpond State Park

Author: Kaytee Smith

Located in Gates County 10 miles south of North Carolina's northeastern border with Virginia, Merchants Millpond State Park centers on a 760-acre millpond more than 190 years old. Hiking the surrounding trails or paddling the placid, shallow waters of the pond offer a great way to explore this wetland environment. Old-growth cypress trees adorned with Spanish moss create an "enchanted forest," particularly at Lassiter Swamp. Visitors have even spotted the American alligator here, at the northernmost point of its range. 

  1. Paddle through the cypress-lined millpond: Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and explore the serene waters of the millpond, surrounded by lush greenery and wildlife.
  2. Hike the trails: Take a leisurely stroll or hit the trails for a more strenuous hike and explore the diverse habitats of the park, including swamps, forests, and wetlands.
  3. Fish in the millpond: Cast a line and try your hand at fishing for a variety of species, including largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish.
  4. Go birdwatching: Merchants Millpond State Park is a birdwatcher's paradise, with a diverse range of species including wood ducks, green herons, and great blue herons.
  5. Participate in ranger-led programs: Join a ranger for a guided tour, campfire program, or educational presentation and learn more about the park's history, wildlife, and habitats.
  6. Picnic by the millpond: Pack a picnic and relax by the water's edge, taking in the tranquil surroundings and scenic views.
  7. Go on a nature photography walk: Take your camera and capture stunning shots of the park's landscapes and wildlife.
  8. Explore the historic gristmill: Visit the restored gristmill, one of the oldest in North Carolina, and learn about its history and how it was used to grind grain.
  9. Go camping: Pitch a tent or park your RV and spend the night at Merchants Millpond State Park, with scenic camping sites available.
  10. Attend a special event: Check the park's calendar for special events, such as wildlife festivals, stargazing nights, and educational programs, and join in the fun.

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