About the Mill and Park
The centerpiece of the 174-acre park is Historic Yates Mill, which is the last operable water-powered gristmill in Wake County (more than 70 water mills once existed in the area). The Mill and the property surrounding it were purchased in 1963 by NC State University. The Mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and was restored to working order through a grassroots community effort by 2005.
The park was developed by, and is managed through, a partnership effort among Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space, NC State University, and the non-profit group Yates Mill Associates (YMA). The University owns the property while Wake County operates, maintains and interprets the park including the 20-acre Mill Pond, and YMA operates and maintains the Mill. The park opened to the public in May 2006 and hosts about 100,000 visitors per year.
Park Mission Statement:
In the tradition of a great state which celebrates its past, cherishes its heritage and nurtures its resources for future generations, Historic Yates Mill County Park interprets and preserves our agricultural heritage, and environmental and historical resources, while providing cultural enrichment and a sense of stewardship made possible by public and private partnerships.
Visitor Center Hours:
- The center (i.e., the A.E. Finley Center for Education and Research), including its 2,200-square foot exhibit hall, is open 7 days per week, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Admittance to the visitor center is FREE.
- Use of the center's facilities must fit the park's mission and requires a fee. All use requests by outside agencies or individuals must be made within one month of the requested date(s). View the Park Facility Request & Reservation Form.
- The historic mill building is open for guided tours by appointment and at published times from March through the end of November each year.
- Corn grinding demonstrations with costumed interpreters are offered on the third weekend of each month during the Mill Tour Season. View the Mill Tour Schedule.
- There is a small fee for all guided tours - note that all proceeds are given to the non-profit Yates Mill Associates and directly support the mill's maintenance and operations.
Park Rules and Regulations
Safety and enjoyment go hand in hand at Historic Yates Mill County Park. The following rules and regulations have been established to ensure a safe and pleasant visit.
- Parking in designated areas only – no roadside parking.
- Please respect NC State University property – hike only on designated trails.
- Fishing is allowed from the boardwalks only. All baits except minnows are allowed. View Park Fishing Rules and Regulations. Note that all North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Rules and Regulations apply. View NC Wildlife Resources Commission's Rules and Regulations.
- Picnicking in designated areas only – use is on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no reserved use.
THE FOLLOWING ARE PROHIBITED:
- Firearms and explosives of any kind
Firearms are prohibited except as allowed by Article 54B of NCGS Chapter 14.
- Open fires of any kind unless special permission is given by park staff
- Dogs and other pets except those that are trained assistance animals
- Alcoholic beverages
- Horses, bicycles and off-road vehicles
- Collection or removal of any animal or plant except those authorized by park staff or partners
- Metal detectors
- Access to areas under the mill
- Geo caches
- Walking or climbing on the mill dam and rocks below the dam
- Personal boating – park and university boats are allowed
- Amplified music