Mill Creek | More than just a creek… October 15, 2021 by Giles County LET’S TALK ABOUT NARROWS… A little, rural town of a less than 2,000 residents, Narrows, Virginia is quite possibly the epi-center of easy-to-access, family friendly outdoor adventures. We’ll walk you through some prime examples of how to spend some time basking in the great outdoors… We start at Mill Creek Nature Park. Truthfully you could spend all day at Mill Creek Nature Park and be quite content. The options available to you are extensive. Mill Creek Nature Park is owned and managed by the Town. It’s free to access, but it never hurts to put a few dollars in the donation box to help offset the costs and maintenance of the park. Photo credit: Aspires Marketing Getting to Mill Creek is straight forward, but a little tricky. Coming via Route 460, at the Narrows stoplight, turn off 460 and head towards downtown. Coming this way, you’ll find options if you want to stop to pick up supplies or snacks. Once in Narrows you’ll turn left onto Main Street. In approximately one and a half miles turn right onto Northview Street. It’s important to note this is residential area and the road can be narrow, so be careful but you’ll find the entrance to Mill Creek at the end of Northview. The asphalt gives way to a gravel road that passes between a garage and house, go on through and follow the gravel road to the ample parking (and donation box) at the end. Seriously you could spend all day enjoying the picnic shelters and easy creek access within minutes of the parking lot. A favorite of mine is just below the first shelter at the creek, you’ll find two spots where you can get right down to the water. The water is cold, beware! There are benches along this section of trail and you’ll see signs for other trails throughout the property. I could spend a good chunk of the day enjoying the sounds of water, reading a book, with my toes in the water. Trout fishing is excellent in this little stream. Native species abound for fly or bank fishing. Don’t forget your license that can be purchased online or a local shop that sells gear. Other wildlife I’ve seen in these lower fields include deer and wild turkeys. I’ve also seen brown snakes and water snakes near the water, but not to worry, this is their home and they’re just hanging out. Starting up the waterfall trail you’ll follow an old road, but still hear the sounds of the rolling mountain creek. Then you’ll come to a very unique spot that also could make a perfect picnic location. They’ve built a sleeping shelter, because you’re on a spur trail off of the Appalachian Trail. Narrows is an AT Community and sees many hikers every year, either hiking the AT or the GET, Great Eastern Trail, of which both parallel near Narrows. You’ll also notice here that the water pools up behind a stone wall. In the olden days, this creek along with this reservoir provided all the water to town residents. The structure holding back the water is thought to be the oldest surviving engineered structure in Giles County. Again, the water is very cold, but some people have been know to take a dip in these mountain waters. You’re welcome to do so, but burrrrr. From here you have a lot of options to traverse the mountain. If you’re a family of mountain bikers, then you’ve found a great spot! Trails with single track crisscross the landscape providing fairly challenging treks and switchbacks. If you’d rather go on foot, I highly recommend the waterfall trail, because as the name suggests there’s a waterfall to enjoy! It’s only a 1.3 mile hike (overall about 3 miles parking lot out and back). From the reservoir follow trail markers to the Waterfall Trail. It’s considered a moderate trail, because you do have to navigate over rock outcrops and the trail becomes very narrow in spots as you go up the gorge. At one point, before the falls, you’ll also have to cross a branch that meanders down to the creek on a wooden single bridge. It’s beautiful and a work of art if you ask us… The waterfalls at Mill Creek are just that, multiple opportunities to take in the spectacular scenery. Some have even been known to take a picnic up to the falls. Between the upper and lower falls there is a nice flat rock you can sit between and enjoy a break or snack. The falls are in a gorge and from the trail you’ll have a few yards down a steep slope to get to this in between area, but completely doable, and worth it! Going beyond the falls you can hike all the way up to Sentinel Point. On a clear day this viewpoint of the Town of Narrows is amazing. The last quarter mile is steep and challenging, but overall the hike is gentle sloping through hardwood forests. Finding native wild flowers or fungi is as easy as looking down and around you. There’s a Shortcut Trail that I like to take on the way back, take the long way going up… One of my other favorite spots is crossing over Mill Creek just before the Shortcut Trail. The rhododendron thicket provides unusual lighting and the illusion of a secret spot along the trail. It’s pretty flat here and when it’s been rainy this could be muddy and difficult to cross, but when it’s not, it’s a really neat spot tucked away up in the hills. Well, we said we’d talk about Narrows, but I’ve only talked about Mill Creek. We’ll have to save the rest of the fun stuff for another day. You can learn more about Mill Creek on the Town’s website http://townofnarrows.org/. Check out the other waterfall hikes in Giles on our website, including Dismal and Cascades, https://virginiasmtnplayground.com/dismal-falls/. If you and your family take advantage of Mill Creek or other trails throughout Giles be sure to check in on Facebook or Instagram. Use #GilesCoVA for us to share your adventures. Stay safe and have fun in Virginia’s Mountain Playground!