Spring Wildflowers

Dutchman’s Breeches. Photo by Duncan Heron.

The Eno River Association invites you to enjoy the Eno this spring with our Spring Hike Series, a tradition since 1969.  Our spring hikes will showcase the wildflowers that bloom along the Eno, and some 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 mid-May. Hikes generally are between 2 hours long.
For weather updates contact the Eno River Association at 919-620-9099, ext. 211 during business hours (phone messages are not answered), or e-mail hike@enoriver.org.

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  and are 1 1/2 – 2 hours 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.  Your hike leader will be displaying a white Eno River bandanna.

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.
  • Most hikes allow for well behaved, leashed dogs unless the hike description indicates “no dogs”.

Updates and weather cancellations for the next hike can be heard by calling (919)620-9099 and selecting option 4.

2020 Spring Hikes Schedule 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Eno River State Park                                                                                  Cabelands Wildflowers 1.2 miles                                                                      2:00 pm    This Sunday hike will be mostly on trail, but be prepared to step off into the woods and the river floodplain as we hunt for mid-March wildflowers. Our guide will also interpret history of this former mill and farm site.                                                                                                     Directions: Meet in the Cabelands parking lot, at the end of Howe Street, off of Sparger Road in Durham (4950 Howe Street, Durham NC, 27705)

 

Sunday, March 15, 2020 – CELEBRATE CREEK WITH US HIKING ON THE ENO!
Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve
Willie Duke’s Bluff Wildflowers
2:00 pm           (Allow 3 hours for this hike)

This hike is somewhat difficult and will be off trail, with some bushwhacking and one steep climb. This usually requires about three 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 of the Piedmont.

The site boasts a showy display of spring ephemerals, with extensive areas of Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), along with the rare Eastern False Rue Anemone or Isopyrum (Enemion biternatum) and numerous other wildflowers, including Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), and both Southern or Dimpled Troutlily (Erythronium umbilicatum), and its northern, tetraploid counterpart (E. americanum).  The shrub layer consists of Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Pawpaw (Asimina triloba), and Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica), which will be in various stages of flowering.  Wear sturdy shoes and long pants, and bring gloves in case you feel inclined to pull out any invasive Chinese privet seedlings which you might encounter. 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 22, 2020

Flat River Hike 2 miles                                                                              2:00PM      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 sub-impoundments 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. The forest also boasts one of the more expansive populations of Dutchman’s breeches and False Rue-anemone in the region. 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 we’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 Sub-impoundment parking lot:  http://goo.gl/maps/wN3Ww 

Sunday, March 29, 2020                                                                                                 Penny Bend Nature Preserve  2 Miles
2:00 pm         This trail passes through open fields, deep forests, and rocky outcrops in less than two miles.   Easy to moderate walking with one short, steep stretch that rewards with a bluff-top view of the river. Penny’s Bend is a horseshoe bend in the river formed by diabase rock. The underlying diabase here makes the soil basic, supporting plants unusual to the Piedmont. Spring wildflowers abound, including spectacular displays of Dutchman’s Breeches some years. If there have been recent rains, parts of the trail may be muddy and a walking stick is helpful. Link to a map of the trails at Penny’s Bend: http://enotrails.com/pennys-bend-area.htm                    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, April 5, 2020

Panther Branch Natural Area Wildflowers 2:00 PM                                   This hike is limited to 20 participants, see below to register.  Panther’s Branch is the newest natural area on the Eno River, purchased by the Eno River Association in 2016, who also manages it.  It is not yet open to the public so this is your chance to explore it.  We will seek out wildflowers on the river and its tributary Panther Branch, and the forest upland.  There are trails to walk but we will step off trail some to view flowers.                          To register e-mail hikes@enoriver.org or call (919)620-9099 ext. 204.

Sunday, April 12, 2020                                                                                Confluence Natural Area Spring Wildflowers 2.25 miles                             2:00 pm    Join us to hike the trails where the East and West Forks come together to form the Eno River.  We will see both forks of the river and their junction, visit the historic Shepherd Mill site, and identify flowers in bloom along the way.  Terrain is easy to moderate.                                       Directions: From Hillsborough Highway 70 north of town, take Hwy 86 north and turn left on Coleman Loop Road at Major Business Forms.  Take the 2nd paved left on Highland Farm Road.  Cross the East Fork of the Eno (unmarked) bridge and the driveway is the next left. The address is 4214 Highland Farm Rd, Hillsborough, NC 27278

 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Eno River State Park 

Pump Station Wildflowers     1.5 miles                                                            2:00 pm                   This is a hike on a well maintained trail.  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. Walking sticks are recommended as we will step off trail.                                                                                                               Directions: Meet your hike leader at the parking lot at the Northside Christian Church at the corner of Cole Mill and Sparger Roads, Durham. The address is 3901 Cole Mill Road, Durham, NC  27712.  You will carpool a short distance to the trail head to begin your hike.

Sunday, April 26, 2020                                                                                                 Wildflowers on the Speedway                                                                    2:00PM       Where once stock cars thundered around the mile long oval of the historic Occoneechee Speedway, now quiet trails meander through woods, old fields, and along the Eno River. On this hike the trails are easy to gentle grades. We will wander around and see what is blooming and imagine what it was like when Richard Petty and Junior Johnson were tearing around the track.                                                                                              Directions: Meet at the Occoneechee Speedway parking lot at 320 Elizabeth Brady Rd, Hillsborough, NC 27278

Sunday, May 3, 2020                                                                                        George and Julia Brumley Family Nature Preserve                              

Northern parking lot: 3620 Old State Hwy 10, Chapel Hill, 27514

2:00PM     We will be walking on Stone Creek Bluff Trail, a 1.1 mile loop, exploring  the flora. Stone Creek is a tributary of the Eno River and is located on the Brumley Nature Preserve in Orange County, approximately 2 miles southeast of the town of Hillsborough. In the 1990’s, a subdivision was planned for a section of the property off of New Hope Church Road but was subsequently protected by the Triangle Land Conservancy.  The Brumley Nature Preserve is a model for sustainable land management practices. The preserve benefits the region by connecting people with the land through a variety of recreational and educational opportunities, protecting ecological communities, and safeguarding Raleigh’s water supply as part of the Neuse River Basin. 

Please pre-register with brucechinery@yahoo.com due to the limited size of the group.

                                                                                                    

Sunday, May 10, 2020                                                                                                    TBD