Eno River State Park
Orange County, NC
Saturday, March 10th, 2012
This past weekend, Amy and I took a trip to Chapel Hill, NC to visit Amy's Sister Jenny and her family. I brought my truck along because they had some things to pick up at Lowes that would not fit in their vehicles. I also brought my chainsaw along to help my brother-in-law Hugh cut up some downed trees in their yard.
For some reason I was anticipating these chores taking up most of the day, but instead we were finished up by lunchtime. So Hugh decided to take me on an afternoon hike to a nearby state park.
Eno River State Park is located on the Orange/Durham County line, a few miles north of I-40/I-85, which is only about a 20 minute drive from Jenny and Hugh's house. I wasn't expecting much, but I was still excited to be able to get a little unexpected hiking in on this beautiful spring day.
We decided to do the Cox Mountain Loop Trail.
From the parking area, the trail descends down to Eno River which we crossed over on an impressive suspension footbridge.
Hugh Checking out a sign at the Footbridge
Shortly past the bridge, the Cox Mountain loop begins. We decided to do it clockwise to get the biggest climb out of the way early. The trail quickly gains 270-feet of elevation to the summit of the 700-foot high Cox Mountain. To me this makes Cox Mountain more of a hill than an actual mountain, but it was still enough of a climb to get the heart-rate up for a few minutes.
There are no views from the summit of Cox Mountain, so we kept our pace up and quickly descended back down to the Eno River.
A Turtle on a Log in the Eno River
There was a nice display of early spring wildflowers blooming, giving us an excuse to stop briefly at times for some quick hand held photographs.
We still had plenty of time left as we neared the end of the 3.75 mile Cox Mountain Loop, so we decided to add the 1.0 mile Fanny's Ford Loop which brought us to a nice series of Rapids along the Eno River.
Rapids along the Eno River
We finished off with the short Eno Trace Loop making the total distance of our hike a little over 5 miles.
Due to limited time, we only saw a small section of the Eno River State Park, but it was nice enough that I will definitely make some return visits during future trips to Jenny and Hugh's place.
Despite being so close to the heavily populated Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area, Eno River State Park still has a nice secluded feel. It is far enough out that you don't get any road noise, and while you are not likely to find total seclusion it didn't seem to be overly crowded.
The complete set of photos is posted here: