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Eno River Redux


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.

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Eno River


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.

Eno River from Buckquarter Trail

Eno River from Buckquarter 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.

18th Century House

18th Century House

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.

Ridge Trail Creek Crossing

Ridge Trail Creek Crossing

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