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Spring Hike Series

West Point On The Eno
West Point on the Eno Park. Sundays, through May 12th 2:00pm. Free event.

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.

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 May. Hikes generally are between 2 and 3 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

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”.

2019 Spring Hikes Schedule
Annual Source of the Eno Pilgrimage
2:00 pm           Annual Source of the Eno Pilgrimage – In the year 2000, Riverdave carefully studied the streams of northern Orange County that might be considered the Eno River’s most distant source. He delineated that spot to be a pond on the West Fork of the Eno River on property owned by the Hoyt Wright family. On a hillside above this pond, the Neuse, Cape Fear and Roanoke River basins converge. From there the Eno flows forty miles southeast to finally empty into Falls Lake. With permission from the property owners, we will continue the Eno River Association’s annual pilgrimage to this auspicious spot, walking the final mile together. see Please register by email at   There is a 30 person limit for this pilgrimage.
Directions: From highway 70 in north Hillsborough, take highway 86 north 10.7 miles. You will see a sign for McCullough Road. Turn left on McCullough and go half mile. On the left side of the road, park in field in front of barn at 2PM. If you need clarification about directions or possible cancellation of hike due to weather conditions, call Riverdave at home beforehand (not cell) 919-489-2934.  Please note that because we will be traversing private property, no dogs are allowed on this pilgrimage.


Sunday, March 10, 2109                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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 some of the geology and 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 17, 2019
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 24, 2019
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:

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 31, 2019
Flat River
Spring Wildflowers 2 miles
2:00 pm   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:


Sunday, April 7, 2019

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 it’s tributary Panther Branch, and the forest upland.  We will get a good view of the beaver pond and dam.  There are trails to walk but we will step off trail some to view flowers.  Directions will be e-mailed.  To register e-mail or call (919)620-9099 ext. 204.


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Confluence Natural Area                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Two Forks and Sheppherd Mill Trails 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.


Sunday, April 21, 2019
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.
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 28, 2019                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Ayr Mount                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Wildflowers 2.2 miles                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     2:00PM         The “Poet’s  Walk.”  A 1.1. mile loop with an additional 1.1 loop through downtown Hillsborough.The Poet’s Walk is a one-mile walking trail that meanders through the woodlands and pastures  surrounding  Ayr Mount historic house. It sweeps alongside the banks of the Eno River, creating serene riverside lookouts, and features views of the Kirkland family cemetery, the old tavern foundation, and Hillsborough’s Old Indian Trading Path. A walk on the trail is perfect for history buffs and nature enthusiasts.  The loop through town will include a few graveyards, gardens, old structures and sites  of significance historical value in Hillsborough.  Hike requires pre-registration to limit the size.  Please email if interested.                                              Directions: I-85 South to exit 170. Follow US 70 Bypass West to signal light at St. Mary’s Road intersection. Turn left heading into town, Ayr Mount entrance ½ mile on left, 376 St. Mary’s Road, Hillsborough, North Carolina 27278


Sunday, May 5, 2019


Sunday, May 12, 2019                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area
Mother’s Day Hike     3.0 miles
2:00 pm            Explore the highest hill in Orange County on the Occoneechee Mountain Loop and Chestnut Oak Trails.   If the blooming cycle is right we may  see Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel flowering and a plant community more typically found in the NC mountains. Our hike leader will introduce you to this special mountain habitat right here at home! Blooming of wildflowers can be unpredictable, but we will be sure to see some wonderful plants growing in this unique habitat.  We will stop off for a scenic overlook of western Orange County and Hillsborough.
Directions: Take exit #164 from I-85. Turn north toward Hillsborough on Churton Street. Turn left on Mayo Street; go past a small shopping center. Turn left on Orange Grove Road. After less than one mile, turn right on Virginia Cates Drive (gravel) just before Orange Grove passes under the interstate. The parking lot is on the left after the ponds.  The address is 620 Virginia Cates Rd, Hillsborough, NC   27278