Open trails along the Eno River

As of May 9, Eno River State Park and Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area have reopened to the public. Park staff expect higher-than-normal attendance, so please continue to avoid peak times such as weekends. There are several other options for your essential hiking & biking. The below trails and lands have been protected thanks to the work of the Eno River Association and our partners. Learn more about the Association’s role in land protection and stewardship.

Before you go, please REVIEW OUR GUIDELINES for enjoying the parks safely, and consider making your trip during the less-populated, weekday times to continuing to keep these areas open and accessible for all.

Our Eno Trails Check List can help you keep track of these trails. Challenge your family to hike them all!

Confluence Natural Area, Hillsborough

Trail Map. Please note: we are recommending hikers use trails in the clockwise direction to reduce contact. More information is available at the trail head kiosk.Located 10 minutes from downtown Hillsborough, the Confluence offers several miles of remote trails and open spaces – making it easier for visitors to distance themselves. Open from dawn until dusk, seven days a week. Trash service and restrooms are not available.

Little River Regional Park, Rougemont

Trail map. A Durham-Orange County Partnership park located 20 minutes from downtown Durham, the park remains OPEN from 8am-7pm daily, while playground, picnic shelters, and restrooms are CLOSED. The park features seven miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as an
ADA accessible 1/4 mile paved walking trail .

Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve, Durham

Trail map. A natural area owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and managed by the N.C. Botanical Garden, this 84-acre preserve is a peninsula, bounded on 3 sides by the Eno River as it flows eastward towards Falls Lake. Trash service and restrooms are not available. Access to the Mountains to Sea Trail and a great fishing spot, make it a popular choice. Avoid the weekends!

West Point on the Eno, Durham

Trail map. This 404-acre Durham City Park is located along a two-mile stretch of the scenic Eno River, six miles north of downtown Durham. All buildings & facilities are closed, and park services like trash & pet waste bag stations are limited. Over 3 miles of trails remain open. Open daily from 8 a.m. – dark.

In addition to the areas listed above, we will be sharing new Hidden Gems of the Eno regularly. These lesser-known trails are no less spectacular, and worthy of a visit.

Remember to practice safety guidelines so we can keep these areas open for as long as possible. Read more here.

Eno River Association and Orange County Protect Historic Farm Property

Photo credit: Rich Shaw

On March 19, 2020, the Eno River Association in partnership with Orange County’s Lands Legacy Program, the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, and the City of Raleigh’s Watershed Protection Program, has secured the purchase of a “working lands” conservation easement on a 57-acre historic property in Hillsborough.  The easement serves the dual purpose of protecting prime farmland and protecting the quality of water that flows downstream of the farm.

The Holden-Roberts Farm is owned and operated by Nels and Nancy Anderson and is located on St. Mary’s Road. The farm is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains a well preserved, rare Reconstruction-period I-house (circa 1873) and a large intact grouping of agricultural outbuildings constructed at various times from 1900 through 1950.  This project will ensure a historically significant farm property will remain as a tangible and meaningful link to the small farm culture dating from the 1800s.  Protecting this property will also help preserve the scenic viewshed and rural character of the historic St. Mary’s Road corridor. 

For more information click here.

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response, Update

The Eno River Association is tuned in to the updates about COVID-19 in our community. We are taking precautions to keep our staff and program guests safe, and we hope that our members near and far will remain in good health.

We’re following the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as DurhamOrange, and Wake Counties, on responding to the outbreak. Our office is closed and our team is working remotely. Please still be in touch with us.

As of May 9, Eno River State Park and Occoneechee Mountain Natural Area are open to the public but there will be limits on visitors and parking. NC State Parks Reopening Plans in full.

Little River Regional Park is open, but playground and restrooms are closed.

West Point on the Eno City Park and its trails remain open, but all buildings are closed to the public.

Penny’s Bend Natural Area remains open.

Here are the latest updates on our response:

We are EXTENDING OPEN HOURS for our Confluence Natural Area to provide the public more outdoor opportunities that maximize social distance. The Confluence will now be open 7 days per week from dawn to dusk.

Traffic at parks and trails has increased many-fold. We strongly encourage you to review the our Guidelines for Safe Trail Use and avoid peak recreation times, typically weekends and late-afternoons.

We have CANCELLED this summer’s Festival for the Eno and iWalk the Eno Science & Nature Camps. We are closely monitoring this evolving situation to make a decision about Eno River Field Station in July.

We have CANCELLED our Spring Wildflower Hikes and our Volunteer Workdays indefinitely.

We are providing additional resources on our website for you to engage with the Eno and environmental education on your own. Our Hidden Gem series will take you to some lesser-known, but no less inspiring, Eno places. Our coloring book pages showcase the diversity of life along the Eno. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter or check back on our website weekly for more ways to engage – near and afar!


Your support is more important than ever before. Please consider making a gift to becoming a member of the Association. Together, we can do more to protect our natural resources and keep them open for everyone.

If you have additional questions, please contact us via email association@enoriver.org.

Eno River Association Grows State Park’s Acreage and Protects Land in the Upper Eno River Basin

Tributary to Eno River on the Matheson Property. Photo credit Todd Nance.

On December 17, 2019, the Eno River Association donated 14 acres of land to be included into Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area and a 1.86-acre trail easement, adjacent to the Eno River and Pleasant Green Road, to be included into Eno River State Park.  The North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) is proposed to cross through both properties. 

The Eno River Association, in partnership with Orange County’s Lands Legacy Program and the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, has also secured the purchase of a “working lands” conservation easement on a 38-acre property in Cedar Grove.  The easement serves the dual purpose of protecting prime farmland and protecting the quality of water that flows downstream of the farm.

For more information click here.

Occoneechee Mountain – Reflections

A documentary by Protected Places Media, presented in honor of our expansion of Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area

Occoneechee Mountain: Reflections from Ernie Sears on Vimeo.

2020 Eno River Calendar

Our 2020 calendar is a soul-inspiring, story telling and photographic  encounter with the Eno River.  Eyes on the Eno is both looks at the river we love, and those who are watching in nature and in our community. We hope it also inspires you to join our extraordinary journey to save more of the places you love along the Eno and its tributaries.

Read more…

Introducing Our New Executive Director

The Eno River Association (ERA) is pleased to announce that Jessica L. Sheffield will join the Association as its new Executive Director on October 28, 2019. Jessica succeeds Robin Jacobs who will retire after 14 years in the ERA’s top leadership role and six years on the organization’s board of directors. The search was guided by moss+ross, a Triangle-based consulting and executive search firm with expertise in nonprofit management. Click here for the full details.

2019 Festival for the Eno

Thanks to over 500 volunteers, our wonderful sponsors, contributors, participants and attendees, the 40th Festival for the Eno was a fabulously good time celebrating the best of our region’s musics, arts, nature and foods! Even lightning strikes and downpours could not diminish the energy and enthusiasm of the thousands of folks who came to West Point to celebrate the Eno River.

Click here for highlights and look for more pics and stories to come!

77 Acres Protected Along Little River

Seventy-seven acres of newly protected forestland will forever protect water quality and habitat along the North Fork Little River. The Eno River Association, working in partnership with a willing landowner, Orange County, the City of Raleigh, and the City of Durham, has placed a permanent conservation easement on the property located a mile upstream of Little River Regional Park, and less than five miles upstream of Durham’s Little River Reservoir. This land lies within the zone designated by Orange County as the Little River Protected Watershed and as a priority by the City of Durham Land Conservation for its Water Quality Protection Model.

The new conservation easement protects approximately 3,300 feet (0.6 miles) of frontage along the North Fork Little River and 2,300 feet (0.4 miles) of frontage along the river’s Tapley Creek tributary, and permanently extinguishes the landowner’s rights to develop the property. This conserved land will be maintained as forest and riparian habitat for plants and wildlife native to the North Carolina Piedmont. The Eno River Association and Orange County will co-hold the easement.

The Little River is a major tributary of the Eno River, flowing into the Eno between Penny’s Bend and Falls Lake Reservoir. The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program has rated the Little River’s aquatic habitat as being “of state significance.” Little River Regional Park lies on the boundary between Durham and Orange counties, and was created as a joint project between the two counties, the Eno River Association, and Triangle Land Conservancy.  Durham’s Little River Reservoir is a primary drinking water resource for the city.

The remains of former rock dams are evident in two places along the river on the property. One of the dams is upstream of a former mill site. An earthen mill race with periodic rock supports runs parallel to the river approximately 1,000 feet eastward before entering the mill site.  The remains of the mill include a rock foundation, sluiceway, and an iron shaft and gear works that once turned to operate the mill. According to documents in the possession of the landowner, the mill was built for the Smith family in 1809. Smith Mill, later Wagoner Mill, was one of many mills that operated in rural Orange County before the 20th century. The remnants of this will now be protected from future development.

Eno River Association Adds 93.38 Acres to Eno River State Park

THE WILDFLOWER HIKE FOR MAY 12 ON OCCONEECHEE MOUNTAIN IS CANCELLED DUE TO THE PROBABILITY OF STORMS

On December 19, 2019 the fascinating and important 87-acre Bacon Quarry property became part of Eno River State Park. The property has been a priority for acquisition by NC State Parks for a number of years. Until the sale this month it had been owned by descendants of the Bacon family for more than a hundred years. READ MORE