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Mitchell Mill State Natural Area - Wake Forest, NC


We discovered Mitchell Mill State Natural Area completely by accident when we were researching the history of Falls Lake for our previous post about Forest Ridge Park. There is quite a bit of history to this site, which is very well documented on the NC State Parks website, that we’ll include a bit of in a separate post. For now, we’re going to tell you about exploring this site and well… finding it because it is a little hidden.

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We ended up stopping and entering the Mitchell Mill area from 2 different locations - one off of Mitchell Mill Road, and another off of Pulley Town Road. Both locations have no parking lot, and barely any marking that the State Natural Area is even there. We went to the Mitchell Mill Road entrance first and blew right by where we needed to stop and had to turn around. Essentially with both entrances, you need to look for a small gravel shoulder and a yellow diamond sign with a white rectangular sign.

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What makes the Mitchell Mill State Natural Area so interesting is that it is on top of one absolutely enormous slab of granite called the Rolesville Batholith. So while at most other parks in the area, you are walking on grass, mulch, or dirt, for the majority of Mitchell Mill, you are walking on stone. And according to the North Carolina State Department of Environmental Quality website, the granite you will walk on at Mitchell Mill is 300 MILLION years old. How freakin’ cool is that?! Because there is a lot of water that flows by and on top of the granite at Mitchell Mill, we highly recommend water shoes for this adventure. They are not totally necessary - we did not have them - but it would have made our trip better.

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The Mitchell Mill Road entrance has the remnants of the old mill wall, which is pretty much the photo you will see when you Google Mitchell Mill. We explored this area for a little while, but the area is actually fairly small. After a tip from another family we saw at the park, we headed over to the Pulley Town Road entrance, which offered significantly more area to explore. From what we understand, the Pulley Town Road entrance is more popular, but larger. Mitchell Mill Road is smaller, but you’re likely to find less people.

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One of our favorite parts of this trip was the small pools we found at the Pulley Town Road entrance - they were like their own little eco-systems, not connected to each other but all sustaining some kind of life. We saw a TON of tadpoles.

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Our last tips for this trip are bring your sunblock - there was not a lot of shade when we got out to the rocks. Also, keep an eye out for garbage and/or glass. We didn’t see a lot of it, but we did see some, so just keep your eyes open. Finally, as always, when you’re in a natural area like this, keep an eye out for wildlife. The family we mentioned earlier said they had seen snakes here before - we did not see any on our trip.

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Have you been to this local hidden gem? Let us know in the comments!


(Note: We're currently working on updating our website with our reviews. This review was originally posted on Instagram and Facebook on July 24, 2020.)

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