The park at Yates Mill Pond is in the purview of this blog – just over a mile from the beltline – but partakes of rural Raleigh and Raleigh history in a profound way that few other sites in that purview do. The watershed, the mill history, the flood history, the facility and its wonderful homage to all of the previous: here is a nature experience with, truly, something for everyone. The new center has marvelous open beam vaulted ceilings and huge window walls that look out on the pond – you feel like you’re in a Biltmore hunting lodge. There is a large set of multi-media displays that give a rich sense of the mill’s multi-family, multi-disaster history. Back outside, the fishing deck is usually in use, but there are lots of private corners of the pond to explore.
Walk past the fishing deck and you have a choice of directions to begin a large loop: to the right you can explore a the wet meadow valley around a ridge from the main pond.This trail winds around by NCSU research farmland and then up the ridge to the Penny Road side of the facility. Currently hurricane damage has closed the connecting segment, so that you are diverted back across the fishing deck to return to the center.
update 6-09 – all 3 trails are open
If you go left after the fishing deck, you are following a trail right beside the pond with twenty specimens of trees, labeled with numbers to go with a brochure available in the center. There is lots of wildlife, such as the skink seen below. A great place we will return to soon!