This was my first trip out to Eno River State Park, and in fact it was the first time I ventured to past downtown. I found the park a real surprise with a great selection of trails and some decent scenery given its close proximity to Durham. This was also my first trip out with Josh Carlisle a local friend and fellow consultant.
The temp was around 40 with a bit of a breeze, but the sun was out and the hiking was good. We parked on the west side near Buckquarter Creek Trail. We ended up walking the Buckquater Creek Trail, up to the Ridge Trail, then the Shakori Trail and then back on the backside of the Buckquarter Creek Trail.
The Buckquarter Creek Trail is a pretty easy trail that follows the Eno River for a bit. Its a nice easy stroll with some nice opportunities to grab some pics on the rocks. About halfway through the path there is a bridge across Buckquarter Creek which leads to the Holden Mill Trail. We didn’t try that trail this time, but definitely on a future trip.
We hiked on until we reached the Ridge Trail which heads north. There are a couple of 18th century homes still in the area and made for some real points of interest. When the Ridge Trail turns back to the Buckquarter Creek we find a rock crossing. Despite the colder temps and Josh carrying a really nice calendar we crossed the creek and kept on the path up the trail. The rest of the Ridge Trail and the Shakori trail create a loop near the creek crossing. There is a bit of elevation change on that side and they are rated as “strenuous” on the park maps. It didn’t seem overly difficult, but it did get the heart pumping a bit. One of the nice things about being over there is that the crowds are definitely a bit thinner than the rest of the park.
After completing the loop we headed back down the Ridge Trail back to the Buckquarter Creek trail and completed the high side of the loop there. Those trails total about 4.5 miles and offered a nice hike with decent elevation changes of at least a few hundred feet.
After getting back to Fews Ford we spent some time walking down the Eno River on an unmarked path that is supposed to lead to a suspension bridge. We walked for about a third of a mile, but we hadn’t quite reached it yet. We were running short on time by then so we decided to turn back and head there first on the next trip.
All told, we ended up walking only about five miles and had a lot of fun. The next trip we will head to the unmarked suspension bridge that leads to the Cox Mountain Trail which offers the highest elevations of the park and a longer hike.
Note: All photos by Josh Carlisle