spring hike series

Dutchman’s Breeches. Photo by Duncan Heron.

The Eno River Association invites you to enjoy the Eno this spring with our Spring Hike Series. Some of our spring hikes will showcase the wildflowers that bloom along the Eno, while others will visit a historical site or follow a scenic path along the river. The Eno River is home to a large variety of blooming flowers, including hepatica and trout lily in March, Dutchman’s breeches and yellow lady slipper in April, and rhododendron and mountain laurel in May.

View Wildflower Portfolio

These free, guided hikes are open to the public. See directions, highlights and schedule below. Check the Google calendar on our home page for any last minute changes to the schedule. Hikes begin at 2:00 pm unless otherwise listed every Sunday from March through May. Hikes generally are between 2 and 3 hours long.
For more information, contact the Eno River Association at 919-620-9099, ext. 211 during business hours (phone messages will not be answered on weekends), or e-mail hike@enoriver.org.

2016 Spring Hikes Schedule

March Forth on the Eno Hikes: Eno River State Park- March 4th-6th
This series of hikes celebrates the 100th anniversary of NC State Park and the Eno River Association’s 50th Anniversary with a series of hikes in the park.

Friday, March 4, 2016
Eno River State Park
Pea Creek & Dunnagan Trails Hike
6:30 pm            This will be our first March Forth on the Eno hike. We will start off our event with a nice evening hike of Pea Creek and Dunnagan trail. This is one of the rarer walked areas of the Eno and often times one of the best areas to hear owls calling. 3 miles round trip.
Directions: Cole Mill Access of the Park on Cole Mill Road.

Saturday, March 5, 2016
Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area
Occoneechee Mountain Trails Hike
9:00 am            This 4 mile round trip will be a tour of the trails at Occoneechee Mountain, the highest point in Orange County. Parts of the Loop Trail, Brown Elfin trail and Chestnut Oak trail will be included in this hike, which will include scenic views from the Overlook trail.
Directions: Take exit #164 from I-85. Turn north toward Hillsborough on Churton Street. Turn left on Mayo Street; go past a small shopping center. Turn left on Orange Grove Road. After less than one mile, turn right on Virginia Cates Drive (gravel) just before Orange Grove passes under the interstate. The parking lot is on the left after the ponds.

Saturday,  March 5, 2016
Eno River State Park
Eno Trace Trail Hike
2:00 pm             This is the shortest hike of the March Forth on the Eno weekend, a less than 1 mile round trip hike along Eno Trace Trail. This is a great hike for those not able to take a long walk but who would like to see a beautiful stretch of the Eno River.
Directions: Meet in the large circular parking lot at the Few’s Ford Access of Eno River State Park, at the very end of Cole Mill Road.

Saturday, March 5, 2016
Eno River State Park
Cox Mountain and Fanny’s Ford Trails Hike
2:30 pm            Join us for a 4.5 mile round trip hike that will take participants along the Cox Mountain and Fanny’s ford trails. Cross the cable hung suspension foot bridge over the river and head up to the top of Cox Mountain. Then enjoy the river and walk through part of an old mill race along Fanny’s Ford Trail.
Directions: Meet in the large circular parking lot at the Few’s Ford Access of Eno River State Park, at the very end of Cole Mill Road.

Saturday,  March 5, 2016
Eno River State Park
Bobbitt Hole and Cole Mill Trails Hike
6:00 pm             Come along on this 2.5 mile round trip evening journey along Bobbitt Hole and Cole Mill trails. This hike will be along one of the prettiest stretches of the Eno River.
Directions: Cole Mill Access of Eno River State Park, Cole Mill Road.

Sunday, March 6, 2016
Eno River State Park
Mountains-to-Sea Trail on the Eno Hike
9:00 am             Pleasant Green Access. Come out early Sunday morning for the longest single hike of the March Forth on the Eno weekend. This 7.5 mile hike will be along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Participants will start at the Pleasant Green Access and walk parts of Laurel Bluffs, Eno Quarry, Cabelands, and Pump Station trails. The hike will end at the park’s easternmost point (Guess Road) and we will shuttle hikers back to their vehicles from there.

Sunday, March 6, 2016
Eno River State Park
Buckquarter Creek and Holden Mill Trails Hike
2:00 pm            Just in case you haven’t walked enough, this 6.5 mile round trip hike will meet at the Piper Cox House parking lot and will proceed up Buckquarter Creek Trail, taking slight detours to visit Shakori, Ridge, and Holden Mill Trails.   The last hike of the March Forth on the Eno weekend will pass by the remains of several historic structures.
Directions: Meet at Few’s Ford Access, Piper Cox parking lot.

Sunday, March 6, 2016
Eno River State Park
Buckquarter Creek Hike
2:00 pm            This shorter hike will meet at the Piper Cox House parking lot and will complete the Buckquarter Creek Trail.
Directions: Meet at Few’s Ford Access, Piper Cox parking lot.

Sunday, March 13, 2016
Annual Source of the Eno Pilgrimage
2:00 pm            In the year 2000, Riverdave carefully studied the ponds of northern Orange County that might be considered the Eno River’s most distant source. He delineated that spot to be a pond on the West Fork of the Eno River on property owned by the Hoyt Wright family. On a hillside above this pond, the Neuse, Cape Fear and Roanoke River basins converge. From this auspicious promontory, the Eno River flows forty miles southeast to finally empty into Falls Lake. With permission from the property owners, we will continue the Eno River Association’s annual pilgrimage to this auspicious spot, walking the final mile together. see http://theborderlife.com/Source-of-the-Eno.php. Please register by email at riverdave52@gmail.com.  There is a thirty person limit for this pilgrimage.
Directions: From highway 70 in north Hillsborough, take highway 86 north 10.7 miles. You will see a sign for McCullough Road. Turn left on McCullough and go half mile. On the left side of the road, park in field in front of barn at 2PM. If you need clarification about directions or possible cancellation of hike due to weather conditions, call Riverdave at home beforehand (not cell) 919-489-2934.  Please note that because we will be traversing private property, no dogs are allowed on this pilgrimage.

Sunday, March 20, 2016
Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve
Willie Duke’s Bluff Wildflowers
2:00 pm            This hike is somewhat difficult and will be off trail, with some bushwhacking and one steep climb. A longer hike, be prepared to be out for over two hours.  If there have been recent rains, parts of the trail may be muddy. The hike will lead you to a noteworthy natural area called Willie Duke’s Bluff where you see outstanding displays of spring wildflowers, including some that are rare and unusual in our area. You will also learn some history and geology along the way.
Directions: Coming from the west, take Duke Street North from I-85 (Exit 176). Turn right on Murray Avenue (sign to the Museum of Life and Science), go until it reaches Roxboro Street, turn left and look for the brown sign to Stagville. [Coming from the east, you can take Roxboro Street directly from I-85.] Turn right here on Old Oxford Road. Go about three miles until Old Oxford crosses the Eno. Immediately after the bridge, turn left on Snowhill Road. Penny’s Bend parking lot will be on the left immediately after you turn.

Sunday, March 27, 2016 – CANCELLED
Eno River State Park
Bobbitt’s Hole and Cole Mill Trail
2:00 pm            Follow the Cole Mill Trail as it winds along the river past scenic laurel bluffs. The hike will take you along the full length of Bobbitt’s Hole Trail and then back to the parking lot. Bobbitt’s Hole is a beautiful wide spot on the Eno, popular with sunbathers in the summer, and is sure to have some wildflowers in bloom along the trail. Bring your wildflower field guide for a casual stroll to find and photograph some flowers and beautiful views of the river.
Directions: Meet at the Cole Mill Access Parking lot on Cole Mill Road at the intersection with Umstead Rd.

Saturday, April 2, 2016
Eno River State Park
Holden Mill Hike: The Great Indian Trading Path
This hike will go upstream along the river, on the Holden Mill trail.  At the furthest reach of that trail we will leave Holden Mill trail and proceed up a Virginia post road that may date from around the Revolution.  Along the way we’ll see a number of cultural artifacts and other unnatural things, like daffodils and jonquils.  This a longish hike or about 4 miles and includes some stair climbing.  We will reconnect with the upper reach of Holden Mill trail after visiting the old road.  Weather and river permitting, there will be an optional return route that will include fording the Eno and climbing the Cox Mountain trail.  Pack a snack and bring water. Total hiking time may be upwards of 4 hours. Hikers should bring water and snacks and wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes.
Directions: Meet at Few’s Ford Access, Piper Cox parking lot.

Sunday, April 3, 2016
Mountains to Sea Trail on the Eno
Mountains-to-Sea Trail on the Eno History Hike
2:00 pm  Hike on Mountains to Sea Trail to the historic ford where the University Road/New Hope Road crossed the Eno.  Hikers will have the opportunity to learn about this historic road that ran from the Pittsboro Court House, through the eventual site of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and on to its junction with the Trading Path at the plantation of Snow Hill.  This hike will meet at the end of Wanderlust Lane near Penny’s Bend parking area.  There will be parking along the side of Wanderlust Lane.  The hike will begin from this point.  The hike will NOT start at the Penny’s Bend parking area (This lot is usually crowded with fishermen at this time of spring).  From Wanderlust Lane, we will hike down an easement to get to the river.  We will hike upstream on the Eno for 2 miles on the MST to the ford of the historic road and then return to Wanderlust Lane, making this a four-mile hike. Due to the fact that this part of the MST is outside the Eno River State Park and has no rangers to enforce a leash law, dog owners have been known to let their dogs run free.  To avoid unwanted dog confrontations, it is highly recommended that hikers not bring their dogs on this hike.
Directions: Coming from the west, take Duke Street North from I-85 (Exit 176). Turn right on Murray Avenue (sign to the Museum of Life and Science), go until it reaches Roxboro Street, turn left and look for the brown sign to Stagville.  Turn right here on Old Oxford Road. [Coming from the east, you can take Roxboro Street directly from I-85 until you get to Old Oxford Road.]  Go about three miles until Old Oxford crosses the Eno. Immediately after the bridge, turn left on Snowhill Road and go past the Penny’s Bend parking area.  Take the first left onto Wanderlust Lane.  Go the end and park on the left side of the road.  Please do not park in front of any of the houses in the neighborhood; use the undeveloped side of Wanderlust.  If there are available parking spaces in the Penny’s Bend lot, you may use them, but you will need to then walk to the end of Wanderlust Lane.

Saturday, April 9, 2016
Historic Moorefields
Moorefields Wildflowers
10:00 am    Historic Moorefields’ property is maintained as a wildlife refuge and abuts Orange County’s 250-acre Seven Mile Creek Nature Preserve. The hike will explore the ridges and bottomlands near Seven Mile Creek, one of Orange County’s most significant and undisturbed natural areas. We will be led by Milo Pyne, an N.C. State-trained botanist, senior regional ecologist for NatureServe, president of the Eno River Association, and an expert on Piedmont wildflowers.
Directions: Historic Moorefields is located at 2201 Moorefields Road in Hillsborough, NC 27278.

Sunday, April 10, 2016
Mountains to Sea Trail on the Eno
2:00 pm Join us for a pleasant hike on the Mountains to Sea Trail from near Penny’s Bend to Red Mill Road. We will hike past scenic bluffs and will keep a fast pace. Views of the river are spectacular in this area, which is popular with bass fisherman and flower enthusiasts. We will not be stopping to smell the flowers as we trek on the trail to our destination. Please wear good hiking boots or sturdy shoes and be prepared to move quickly and see some stunning sights.

Directions: Coming from the west, take Duke Street North from I-85 (Exit 176). Turn right on Murray Avenue (sign to the Museum of Life and Science), go until it reaches Roxboro Street, turn left and look for the brown sign to Stagville.  Turn right here on Old Oxford Road. [Coming from the east, you can take Roxboro Street directly from I-85 until you get to Old Oxford Road.]  Go about three miles until Old Oxford crosses the Eno. Immediately after the bridge, turn left on Snowhill Road and go past the Penny’s Bend parking area.  Take the first left onto Wanderlust Lane.  Go the end and park on the left side of the road.  Please do not park in front of any of the houses in the neighborhood; use the undeveloped side of Wanderlust.  If there are available parking spaces in the Penny’s Bend lot, you may use them, but you will need to then walk to the end of Wanderlust Lane.

Sunday, April 17, 2016
Confluence Natural Area Hike
2:00 pm     Join us to hike the newly created trails at the confluence of the Upper Eno River in Orange County. Explore these new trails with volunteers who helped to build them and Eno River Association folks who worked hard to get this area protected. This natural area is NOT open to the public and can only be hiked at an Eno River Association event, so join us at the confluence. River views and flowers will abound, and signs of wildlife are often seen.
Directions:4214 Highland Farm Road, Hillsborough, NC 27278

Monday, April 18, 2016
Eno River State Park
Pea Creek & Dunnagan Wildflower Walk
9:00 AM-11:00 AM   Join Eno River Association education director Liz Stabenow for a leisurely stroll along the Eno to look for wildflowers in bloom. Bring your camera or smartphone to snap a few photos and learn about how you can become a citizen scientist and help study the Eno. Ages 8 & up. The trail is rocky at some points and athletic shoes or hiking boots are preferred. We will hike at a leisurely pace but be out for up to two hours, so bring a water bottle and be ready to enjoy the sights and sounds of spring on the river. Maximum 18. Please call the park office at 919-383-1686 to sign up for this hike.
Directions: Meet at Cole Mill access parking lot.

Sunday, April 24, 2016
Eno River State Park
Pump Station Wildflowers
2:00 pm            Highlights of this hike: with luck and the right flowering time, you might see a Ladyslipper orchid! This is an easy hike with a few gentle hills and is known for the beauty of the wildflowers that bloom each spring.
Directions: Meet your hike leader at the parking lot at the Northside Christian Church at the corner of Cole Mill and Sparger Roads, Durham. You will carpool a short distance to the trailhead to begin your hike.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Eno River State Park
Turtle Talk & Walk
10:00 AM-11:00 AM    Turtles are so fun to watch and easily seen at almost every visit to the Eno River. Join Eno River Association education director Liz Stabenow to learn about the aquatic and terrestrial turtles of the Eno and how we study them. Meet a live turtle and take a short walk in the woods to look for turtles on land and in the water. Ages 2-102. Maximum 18. Please call the park office at 919-383-1686 to sign up for this hike.
Directions: Meet at the picnic tables at the circular parking lot at the end of Cole Mill Rd., Few’s Ford access.

Sunday, May 1, 2016
Flat River Hike
2:00 pm            The destination is a section of alluvial levee forest in the bend of the Flat River.  The hike starts and ends along the gravel access roads of the food plot subimpoundments in the floodplain of the Flat River above Falls Lake.  We will walk about a half of a mile before entering the woods.  Once in the woods there is no defined trail, but the terrain is relatively flat and the vegetation will be growing in and we will do a bit of bushwhacking.  This site is one of the significant natural heritage sites recorded on Corps of Engineers land at Falls Lake.  The shrub layer consists of spicebush, pawpaw, and painted buckeye, which will be in various stages of flowering.  Wear sturdy shoes and long pants, and bring gloves if you are inclined to pull out any invasive Chinese privet seedlings we are likely to encounter.   During the hike I’ll talk at length about the bedrock geology, soils and soil chemistry, geomorphology and fluvial processes, and cultural history of the site, which also happens to straddle the Indian Trading Path where it crosses the Flat at a natural ford.
Directions: We will meet at the Wildlife Subimpoundment parking lot on Old Oxford Highway on the right before Lake Michie Dam Road.  Here are directions to the Subimpoundment parking lot:  http://goo.gl/maps/wN3Ww  and the lat/long of the parking lot:  36.1276, -78.8327

Sunday, May 8, 2016
Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area
Mountain Laurels & Mother’s Day Hike
2:00 pm            Explore the highest point in Orange County – the top of Occoneechee Mountain. Highlights include Mountain Laurel and a plant community more typically found in the NC mountains. Our hike leader will introduce you to this special mountain habitat right here at home! Blooming of wildflowers can be unpredictable, but we will be sure to see some wonderful plants growing in this unique habitat.
Directions: Take exit #164 from I-85. Turn north toward Hillsborough on Churton Street. Turn left on Mayo Street; go past a small shopping center. Turn left on Orange Grove Road. After less than one mile, turn right on Virginia Cates Drive (gravel) just before Orange Grove passes under the interstate. The parking lot is on the left after the ponds.

Sunday, May 15, 2016
Confluence Natural Area
Morning Bird Hike
8:00 am      Join Eno River Association board member and avid birder Tom Driscoll on an early hike to discover the birds at the Confluence Natural Area. This beautiful property is not usually open to the public but we will offer two hikes here on May to introduce you to the flora, fauna, and history of this area on the upper Eno.

Directions:4214 Highland Farm Road, Hillsborough, NC 27278

Saturday, June 4, 2016
Ayr Mount/Poet’s Walk
Early Morning Start on National Trails Day
8:30 am     

A meditation walk is planned with the intention of forming a deep connection with nature. The setting is at Ayr Mount estate (circa 1815) and its trails provide visitors with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Triangle. The Poets Walk trail is a 1-mile loop and the silent guided walk will be once around the loop. The pace will be about 3-mph, so about 20-25 minutes. Along the trail, you can view the Eno River and remnants of the Old Indian Trading Path, finishing in a picturesque meadow complete with pond and forested hills in the background. You are welcome to stay after the walk either to enjoy more laps on your own or relax in the open meadow (in continued silence or in conversation). There are a few picnic tables and Adirondack chairs or you can bring a blanket. Who knows, you might even be inspired to write poetry! The leader will have a limited supply of his personally assembled trail kits, free to the first 20 participants. 

Directions: From the historic courthouse in downtown Hillsborough, head west on E King Street. Turn left at Cameron St then quickly yield right onto St Mary’s Rd. Go about 0.7 mile then turn right into Ayr Mount (376 St Mary’s Rd) and follow to parking lot. Note that there are no restrooms at this location.

Eno River Association Spring Hikes Info

1. Wildflower highlights listed will vary based on the weather and flowering times each year. New hikes and programs will be added to the schedule as soon as details are confirmed. Not all spring hikes lead to a destination with blooming wildflowers.

2. Hikes are free but donations are welcome,- consider becoming a member of the Eno River Association!

3. Hikes start at 2:oo pm unless otherwise listed.

4. Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early to park, get to the meeting location, and sign in with the hike leaders.

5. Wear good walking shoes or boots.

6. Recommendations

  • Dress for the weather, whatever it is – sun or rain, cold or hot.
  • Wear long pants due to some poison ivy on off-trail sections.
  • Bring water and trail snacks (you will be out for ~2 hrs+).
  • There are some great photo ops, so consider bringing a camera.
  • A wildflower guide is also a nice option. Not all hike leaders are wildflower experts, so come prepared to do your own research & make your own discoveries as well. Don’t have a field guide? Check one out from your local library or borrow from a friend.