Monday, Monday: Finding quiet along a busy Eno River

Eno River State Park is appreciated year-round, but appreciated to death on weekends, especially the areas with good access to the Eno. Now, with the temporary closing of the Eno Quarry downstream, perhaps no area has more immediate access to recreational water than the Fews Ford Access. There you’ll find pools and riffles, especially popular with families with young kids, as well as Class II rapids, where the more comfortable swimmers hang out. 

The easiest way to get there is from the Piper Cox parking area, which sits less than a hundred yards away. Trouble is, the same lot feeds some of the park’s most popular trails. Show up to the small lot feeding both and you’re likely to think that the jammed lot means the trails will be crawling with hikers. 

In summer especially, though, at least three-quarters of those cars are ferrying folks to the ford. Sunday morning, it was the site of a GetHiking! Triangle Small Batch hike, hikes open to a limited number of hikers (first come, first served), usually 8 to 10, depending upon the nature of the hike. Outside of the Buckquarter Creek Trail, we saw only occasional hikers on the 7-mile route we stitched together consisting of the Buckquarter Creek, Ridge, Shakori, Fieldstone and Holden Mill trails. 

We saw some hikers on the Buckquarter Creek portion of this hike, but as we hiked farther from the river we had this gorgeous terrain largely to ourselves: the Shakori Trail with its passage through bottomland woods; the Ridge Trail, where we caught a nice breeze thanks to a marginal understory; the Holden Mill Trail, where some stout climbs and rock scrambling keep the casual hikers away. Best of all, this five-trail loop teams to give you seven miles of scenic, and mostly solitary, hiking to enjoy. 

Solitude along the Eno on a pandemic Sunday. Who would have guessed?

Hike it yourself

We’ve put together a guide for this 7-mile escape that includes Key details, including trailhead location, blaze colors, kid- and dog-friendliness, difficulty, whether there are facilities at the trailhead and more; a map of the route, route description to help keep you on course, a 206-second video virtual tour. The 3-page pdf guide is normally 99 cents, but if you order before Thursday and enter code ZHNESAPF, it’s free. Get your guide here.

Small batch it with us

Our next Small Batch hike, posted moments ago, is to Horton Grove Nature Preserve in northern Durham County on Sunday, July 12 at 10 a.m. Distance is about 5 miles, difficulty is moderate. Learn more and sign up to join us here, on our GetHiking! Triangle Meetup page. If the hike is full, join the waitlist: we may add another hike.

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