The Old Mill Dam
One of the most popular sites at Cedarock park is the Old Mill Dam. It's a popular site for rest and relaxation and is oftern used as a site for weddings and other special events.
What is the Dam?
Historically, dams have been used for many purposes which all have to do with controlling water. Sometimes they've been used to store up water for drinking or agriculture or for generating electricity.
In this area, the primary use for dams when this dam was built during the late 1700's or early 1800's was to divert the water to power mills.
This particular dam was a diversionary dam. The water was pooled by the dam and then sent down a sluice to power a mill that stood on a hill above the dam behind the path visitors walk down to view the dam. The water then returned to the creek below the dam.
Is it a Waterfall?
Yes and no. The Dam is not a natural waterfall, such as the waterfalls found in the North Carolina Mountains. However, it does have some of the same beauty that one would find at a waterall. Also, historically, dams such as this were built on sections of rivers and creeks that had a significant change in elevation. In the dam's case, the creek loses about 15' of elevation in a short distance area around the dam. While this may not qualify as an "official" waterfall, it's certainly a significant drop over a short distance.
However, many people continue to refer to the Old Mill Dam as a "waterfall", and that's just fine with us.
Visiting the Old Mill Dam
The Old Mill Dam is one of the most popular and easily-accessible sites at Cedarock Park. The path to the dam is handicapped-accessible, and there are two gazeebos nearby: the Old Mill Dam Gazeebo overlooking the dam and Elmo's Gazeebo just downstream.
Visitors should stay out of the creek and away from the dam itself. There are slippery rocks where you could slip and get hurt - or worse. There are also fragile species of plants near the dam that could be damaged. This area of Cedarock is also the home to species of animals that could potentially harm you, such as snakes and spiders. It's best to enjoy the dam from a short distance away.