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Merchants Millpond State Park

176 Millpond Road
Gatesville, NC 27938

252-357-1191

Southern swamp and hardwood forest mingle at Merchants Millpond State Park, adorning the landscape with massive bald cypress trees, beech groves, Spanish moss and exotic wildlife. Canoes can be rented or visitors can bring their own for a unique paddling experience. Three types of camping are available at family and group campgrounds, primitive backpacking sites and three remote canoe-in campgrounds reached by paddling trails. The scenic pond is surrounded by picnic grounds, nine miles of hiking trails and a visitor center offering museum-quality exhibits. Some trail segments are open to biking. Fishing is available from the bank, or small boats (trolling motors only) may be launched at the boat ramp.

Camping

Tent and trailer camping
The family campground is in the midst of a pine/hardwood forest just beyond the park office. Twenty campsites for tents and trailers offer picnic tables and grills. A washhouse with drinking water, restrooms and showers serves the campground. There are no electrical hookups, water or dumping station.

Group camping
Organized groups will enjoy a stay in the walk-in group camping area or in a canoe camping group site.

Facilities for the walk-in sites include a small washhouse with a shower. Drinking water is available nearby.

Backpack camping
Reach five campsites for backpack camping by hiking a side trail off Lassiter Trail.

Campers must pack all supplies, including water, to the sites. A pit toilet is nearby.

Views of the "enchanted forest" and Lassiter Swamp await those who travel to the backpack camping area.

Paddle-in camping
Reach three canoe camps by way of paddle trails leading from the boat ramp.

Orange markers lead to the family canoe camp with 10 sites. Yellow markers lead to the group canoe camp, which offers three sites. Pit toilets are available, but campers must carry in all supplies, including water, and carry out their trash.

The third canoe camp is located down Bennett's Creek, approximately 4.5 miles from the boat ramp. Bennett's Creek canoe-in campgrounds are carry-in, carry-out with no restrooms.

Activities

Hiking
The park is a great place for a hike!

Paddling
Rent a canoe or bring your own. The best way to explore Merchants Millpond is by gliding across the park's placid, shallow waters. A boat ramp and pier near the parking area offer access to the water. Marked paddle trails lead from the visitor center and boat ramp to canoe-in campsites. Venture out of the millpond and take slow-moving, dark-water Bennetts Creek through Lassiter Swamp. Here, park visitors are transported into a world of mistletoe, hanging Spanish moss and ancient cypress trees.

Canoes can be rented by the hour ($7) or overnight (for canoe-in campsites) at the visitor center. Canoes, paddles, and life vests are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A maximum of three people may occupy each vessel.

Fishing
Cast your line from the bank or journey into the millpond to fish in a pastoral setting. Small boats (with trolling motors only) may be launched at the boat ramp. Largemouth bass, bluegill, chain pickerel and black crappie are waiting to bite the hook! The Wildlife Resources Commission manages the millpond fisheries. All boating and fishing regulations of the WRC apply.

Picnicking
The shade of large trees offers a place to picnic within view of the millpond. Located north of the canoe access area, the A.B. Coleman Picnic Area has tables, one picnic shelter and restroom facilities. Picnic shelters are available on a first-come basis free of charge. The picnic shelter may be reserved for a fee.

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