The map of the trails on the wester portion of the park can be found here - Eno River Trail Map, PDF
My wife and I and the two kids, boy almost 3 and a girl 8 going on 19, checked out this section of trails on the Eno river on March 26th. It was a cool, cloudy, drizzly day. We went for the purpose of testing out my new rain gear, but, never really had the chance to test it as it never poured.
This section of the state park is the one that is advertised by all the signs leading up the it. The main information center and the ranger station are located here. There are two large parking lots with modern bathrooms and water fountains. There is also a rather large picnic area located close to the bathrooms.
This section is clearly the more popular section as well. The large group campsites are here, about 1-2 miles from the parking lot. On that day, there were about 3 separate groups of kids and fathers hiking down to the campsites. Its always nice to see people, even if some looked completely out of place, attempting to hike and camp.
The first set of trails include the Cox Mountain trail and Fanny's Ford trail. Both are loops and link up to provide a longer hike. Combined, they provide just a little over 5 miles of hiking. The Cox Mountain trail includes a short but steep hike up about 450 feet, a great little challenge to anyone who has never really hiked serious mountain trails. There are a few visual treats. The first is the free swinging footbridge that crosses the Eno. I'm a huge fan of any kind of bridge while I'm hiking, even if its just a couple of boards over a small creek, therefore, this footbridge is a blast. Of course, having my almost 3 year old think about climbing the rails and almost fall was not so fun. There is also an old wooden cabin that has been converted into a picnic area deep in the hike.
After a lunch back at the parking lot, we hit the other trails. The Buckquarter Creek trail, loops into the Ridge Trail, a long one way trail that leads deep into the woods there a good ways away from the parking lot, but offers another large group campsite for those willing to hike about 4.7 miles in. The Ridge trail holds two really old homes, 19th century homes, within the tall pines and oaks, and offers a unique sight while on the hike. Once we returned from the Ridge trail, we looped back into the Holden Mill trail, dropping down into a small valley that was crisscrossed with small creeks, with a lush green grass growing. It was a beautiful sight. The Holden Mill trail is another loop that hikes up about 200 feet then drops down and comes back along the Eno. The trail here really hugs the river, at times there is no clear path, and one has to hike and climb rocks where one slip will land you in the water. Be warned if you have little ones, you will have to help them up and over the rocks, but we managed just fine.
All in all we hiked 9.7 miles. We did not take two smaller trails at the end of the Ridge trail, Shakori and Knight trail. There are plans to make the Shakori trail loop up into the Holden Mill trail, then offering a 10 mile loop in the near future.
This is one of those sets of trails where, if you just want a day of good hiking, especially if you live nearby, you will gladly return here multiple times.
More to come. Enjoy the pictures.
|Hes loving it.|
|It's looking at me funny.|
|One of the few flowers that day.|
|Footbridge over the Eno.|
|One of the two 19th century homes.|
|Starting off the Cox Mountain trail.|