Thomas Mitchell Park – Summer Hike

thomas mitchell park creek stomping

I think Thomas Mitchell Park is probably my #1 favorite spot to hike in the creek and explore; it even has special stairs to get up and down easily! We had a great visit last summer, bumping into interesting fungi and animals, in addition to kicking off the Polk County Geocache Challenge with our first cache at this park.

[You can see more specific details on the Thomas Mitchell Park page or check out its location on the interactive map.]

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I usually snap shots of park signs so it’s easier to find, but the overgrowth on this entrance didn’t help anyone out.

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There’s a main road, driving up to this lake and a small bathrooom, with picnic tables sprinkled around in the shade. We’ve seen lots of folks fishing here, and there is a loop path around it.

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We opted for the Devotie Trail; all the trails are dirt and pretty shady.

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It’s unique to find a grave along the trail! I can’t remember who was buried here, we need to go back and take a closer look.

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There were lots of interesting fungi and florals as we went, I especially appreciate the variety in color and shape.

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The trail eventually leads you to this pretty red bridge near the campground, which is where we opted to get in the water.

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Obviously it will depend on water levels, but this was about as deep as it got when we went, perfect for my 1 year old.

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The perfect summer activity!

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You can see the steps up and down into the water here; there is a second site with steps like these, that you will have driven past while entering the park.

There are a few spots to access the creek – the one above is near the red bridge next to the campground. We got there by parking in the main lot, by the pond/bathroom, and hiking the Devotie Trail to it. You can alternately park at the campground – see below for pictures.

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While in the water, we saw a ton of frogs, crawfish, and moths/butterflies! We will definitely be repeating this again; it’s so nice to cool off after a hike and explore the water critters as well. You can check out what the park looks like in fall, in this post.

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