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. Hikes begin at 2:00 pm and are typically 2 hours long. 

In the event of cancellations or weather emergencies, please check the top of this page, our social media or email hikes@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 consider becoming a member of the Eno River Association by making a donation!

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”.
  • Relevant updates and weather cancellations will be posted at the top of this page.

 


 

2021 Spring Hikes Schedule 

Sunday, March 14, 2021 (FULL)
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.

To register click here: Willie Duke’s Bluff

 

Sunday, March 21, 2021
Hike 1 of 2
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

To register click here: Flat River Wildflower Hike

 

Sunday, March  21, 2021
Hike 2 of 2
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.

To register click here: Penny’s Bend Wildflower Hike

 

Sunday, March 28, 2021
Cabelands Wildflower Hike
2 miles  2:00pm
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. This hike is easy to moderate with a few stops off-trail to hunt for wildflowers along the river plain.
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)

To register click here: Cabelands Wildflower Hike

 

Sunday, April 4, 2021
West Point on the Eno Wildflowers
1.1 miles  2:00pm
The mountain laurel may be in bloom for this stroll along the river. Our guide will also tell us what is blooming underfoot. This trail has small hills and is generally dry, with views of the river.
Directions: Meet at the dam across the Eno River above the West Point Mill. The address is: 5101 Roxboro Rd, Durham, NC 27704. Use the main entrance on the south side of the river from Roxboro Rd, across from Riverview shopping center.

To register click here: West Point on the Eno Wildflowers

 

Sunday, April 11, 2021
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.

To register click here: Confluence Natural Area Wildflowers


Sunday, April 18, 2021

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.

To register click here: Pump Station Wildflower Hike

 

Sunday, April 25, 2021
Eno River State Park
Bobbitt Hole Wildflowers
2.6 miles. 2:00pm
Hike past rocky out crops and rapids, quiet river and steep bluffs to one of the iconic places on the Eno River.  Bobbitt Hole is the deepest known spot in the river.  Half this hike will be on the river and half through rolling hills of forest.
Directions:  Meet at the Cole Mill Access at the intersection of Cole Mill and Umstead Roads.  The address is 4390 Old Cole Mill Rd, Durham, NC 27712

To register click here: Bobbit Hole Wildflowers

 

Sunday, May 2, 2021
Eno River State Park
Fews Ford Access
2:00 PM 1 Mile
This guided wildflower walk will take us through fields, forest, and river flood plain. Habitat variety will also give us wildflower variety. We will identify the flowers and talk a little about their life history. The leisurely hike will be on trail, with modest hills, but there are muddy places so wear appropriate shoes.
Directions: Meet at the Fews Ford Picnic Area at the dead end of Cole Mill Road, 3/10 mile after you enter the state park gate. The address is 6101 Cole Mill Rd, Durham, NC 27705. Parking can be tight at Fews Ford on a Sunday so arrive early in case you have to park farther up the road from the picnic area.

To register click here: Fews Ford Access Wildflowers

Sunday, May 9, 2021
Panther Branch Natural Area Wildflowers
2:00 PM  2 Miles
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, its tributary Panther Branch, the forest upland, and visit high bluffs above the river.  There are trails to walk but we will use stepping-stones to cross the creek and step off trail and walk through some forest to view flowers. A walking stick, tick repellant, and shoes that can get muddy are recommended.
Directions: Exit 160 off I-85. End of the long ramp make a right onto Mt Willing Rd and go 0.3. Right on Forrest Ave and then a quick left on Brookhollow Rd for 1.6 miles. Right on Lebanon Rd for 0.8 miles. Look for the hike leader in an Eno tee-shirt and white hike leader bandanna, if you get there before the hike leader look for the cable across the driveway. Park on the shoulder on both sides but not in front of anyone’s house.

To register click here: Panther Branch Wildflowers