Just a few hundred feet off of US441, and just a 1/2 mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor’s Center you’ll find the Mingus Mill. The mill still works and is water powered (it is not a water wheel). The Park Service Volunteers grind both wheat and corn and sell the fruit of their labor. Youngsters will have a great time heading upstream from the mill to play in the water.
The mill itself, and nearby creek are both highly photogenic. There are usually lots of butterflies and dragonflies in the area as well, allowing for many nature shots as well. Hawks and other birds can also be found in the mill area.
I would suggest going to Clingman’s Dome and this mill all in one day. It’s not the kind of thing you make the whole trip to go to, but if you’re there, it’s worth stopping. Lots of wildflowers, wildlife and historic buildings along the way. It is a short easy walk. It is also educational.
Address – 1/2 Mile North of Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC
Website – http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/mfm.htm