Eno River State Park, Durham NC

Being one of North Carolina’s linear state parks it took several trips to cover Eno River. There are multiple sections that are not really connected and many have a whole days worth of hiking. The park stretches along 14 miles of the river and has 5 separate access points. The main park and trails were at the Fews Ford Access. I put off going here for months although it was a short trip. It required crossing Raleigh and Durham during rush hour if I wanted an early start, and it was in Durham, spread out, and I would probably be disappointed. Boy was I wrong…. not about the drive, it was horrible, but Eno River was absolutely beautiful.

Fews Ford

Fews Ford Access

being the main park access I went here often. It contained the Cox Mountain Trail , the Holden Mill Trail , the Buckquarter Trail, and the Ridge Trail. I started out for the Cox Mountain Trail. Cox Mountain is 707 feet but the rise from the river is only 270 Ft. Soon I had to cross the river on the parks swinging bridge.

swinging bridge at Eno River
beautiful Eno River

After crossing to bridge I took a side trip on the Fanny Ford Trail through the primitive camp area. This was a loop that took me back to the Cox Mountain Trail.

Cox Mountain Trail
You got most of the 270 Ft all at once It got steeper near the summit.

The Cox Mountain Trail was about 3.5 miles of moderate hiking. When I came back from the mountain I decided to take the Buckquarter Creek and Holden Mill Trails to check out the remains of Holden Mill. The Buckquarter Creek Trail stayed close to the river most of the way.

Rare pool on the Eno River.

The Eno River rises in Orange County NC and is the main tributary, along with the Little and Flat Rivers, of the Neuse River. The Eno is noted for it’s beauty and water quality. The waters of the Eno do struggle with a grass called Water Hydrilla that threatens to choke off the river if not controlled. The Eno runs perpendicular to North Carolina’s Fall line so it gently falls and has many rapids and cascades. At one time about 30 mills were located on the Eno.

Holden Mill is the most preserved of the thirty mills that used to be in the area.

Beaver Dam on BuckQuarter Creek.

After crossing Buckquarter Creek the trail intersects with the Holden Mill Trail. The mill is the most preserved but that being said it was a bit of a disappointment.

Holden Mill area
Holden Mill Area
Holden Mill Area

See, not much but at least there was something there. I guess if it was more you wouldn’t have to hike 4 miles to see it. Plus the BuckQuarter Creek Trail back to Fews Ford is the most scenic and most challenging in the park.

cascades on the Eno River
Eno River Cascades

The highlight of the park is the Eno River Cascades along the Buckquarter Creek Trail.

Eno River Cascades
along the Buckquarter Creek Trail

On my next visit I went back to Fews Ford to do the Ridge Trail. The Ridge Trail follows part of the old Ridge Road that ran from Durham to Roxboro. There are three old homesteads along the trail.

This mid 19th century cabin is believed to be the oldest remaining homestead in the park.
another old home
This more modern homestead is probably late 19th century

Pleasant Green Access

My next Trip to the park took me to the Pleasant Green Trailhead. Here I will be doing a section of the Mountain to Sea Trail that traverses the park out to Cabelands where there is supposed to be remains of another old mill. After seeing Holden Mill as the best preserved it wasn’t too promising that this was going to be much. But I am knocking out a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail, a project I have been working on for a couple years, so that’s a plus.

I started out on the Laurel Bluffs Trail/ Mountain to Sea Trail towards Cabelands. I found nothing of a mill. They say that the foundation lies right off the trail but I never found it. Maybe it is under the leaves so best come back next summer. Cabes Gorge on the River however was nice

Cabe’s Gorge

This trail also took me past the Rock Quarry. Rock was extracted here to help in the construction of I-40. I did the Quarry Trail around the Quarry. On the back side the Cabelands/ Mountain to Sea Trail continued.

The old Quarry

Bobbitt’s Hole Access

Bobbitt’s Hole

Bobbitt’s hole is or was a local swimming hole. One of the rare calm areas of the river , as it makes a turn and it has created a still pool.

Eno River near Bobbitt’s Hole

Near Bobbitt’s Hole was a nice primitive campground. These were the three largest areas… or had the longest trails at Eno River. I never got the other access done. Ah you say you missed two! Nope! The fourth one was the Cabelands area which I hiked into. Only the Cabelands and Pleasant Green accesses are connected by trail. I only missed the Pump Station area around the water works from when Durham was a small country town.

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