Today I had a chance to visit Eno River State Park again. This was my first hike of the year since the area was hit by bad weather the last few weeks and I also had a few other trips scheduled for work.
With the recent weather I wasn’t sure how the trails would be. There was still some ice on the roads on the back roads leading to the park. Overall I found the trails were in pretty good shape, but they were definitely better in the first half when the ground was still firm. By the time I left with temps approaching 50 some sections were very muddy and up to five inches deep. I had one bad slip that nearly sent me rolling.
On the previous trip we started on Buckwater trail and then ran out of time before we could tackle the Cox Mountain trail. Because of that, and since Cox Mountain was supposed to be the hardest I started there. The footbrige is pretty interesting and adds some character to the trip. The trail starts off pretty tame and then there is a turn off toward the “mountain” with a pretty steep accent. On the map it shows close to 700 ft, but I didn’t show more than 500 on my watch at each of the apexes. The first half of the trail was ok, but not a whole lot to see. After you hit that power line section the sights start to improve. The hike wasn’t difficult, I think the Ridge Trail we previously hiked was harder and we were on a slower pace. After completing the Cox Mountain trail I then took that Buckwater trail which led to the Holden Mill Trail. That trail was rated as moderate, but it was pretty stout with some interesting sights.
All told my hike was about 8.25 miles. My feet were hurting a tad more because of the more extreme descents, but it wasn’t bad. Even with the slightly cool temps, I ran out of water with about 1.5 miles left. I will not to that again.
At this point I have hiked all of the main Western trails at Eno River. My favorites are the Ridge and the Holden Mill Trail. Given that there is a series of loops, there are a number of options for linking together hikes of varying lengths. There is decent elevation change (for central NC anyway) which provides a bit of a cardio workout. I think this is really a great park, and I look forward to seeing it in its full glory this spring.