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5 Short and Easy Hikes on the Eno River

By Maggie Brown | July 1, 2015 | Explore NC

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I’ve lived minutes from the Eno River for most of my life. I spent some time living near the Great Salt Lake in Utah, and have lived a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean in South Carolina, but Piedmont North Carolina’s Eno River is the sweet, humble body of water that always feels like home to me.

Now that I’m towing two young kids with me when I go hiking on the Eno, I have three requirements: easy, short, and with plenty of water for dipping toes and observing nature. Here are my five favorite short and easy hikes on the Eno River for you to check out with your kids (or enjoy by yourself!).


Cole Mill Trail

I’ve been on this trail hundreds of times. And it honestly never gets old. There’s always something new about it – a trio of turtles sunning on a log, or a crawfish swimming in a shallow pool – my five year old is always making a new discovery. You can add on the Bobbit Hole Trail for some extra Fitbit steps (and a great swimming spot).

Old Cole Mill Road, Durham, NC


Fews Ford

You don’t even have to go very far from the parking lot to enjoy the river at Fews Ford. Steps from your car you’ll find a nice wide, shallow area where you can wade, throw sticks for the dog, or let your kids walk across the river with their water shoes on. It’s a popular spot in the summer, and there are several easy to moderate trails that start here.

6101 Cole Mill Rd, Durham, NC



Buckquarter Creek

My husband and I had our first “date” on this trail, eons ago. It’s a 1.5 mile loop that starts at the Piper-Cox Museum parking lot. One of the nicest features is the swinging cable bridge you can see from the loop. There are also some picnic sites if you’re looking to take a rest and snack with the family.

6101 Cole Mill Rd, Durham, NC


Poet’s Walk at Ayr Mount

My husband says this is a boring trail, but I disagree. I find it peaceful, and it always feels like going back in time to 1815, when the Ayr Mount estate was built by William Kirkland, a Scottish merchant who settled in NC. The Poet’s Walk at Ayr Mount isn’t entirely by the river, but there are some lovely spots where you can sit and reflect. It’s an easy, one mile walk.

376 St. Mary’s Road Hillsborough, NC


Pump Station Trail

This one is usually a little less crowded than others, and it has some cool ruins of an old pump station. There’s also a nice little sandy area by the ruins. Great for catching frogs, if you have a five year old boy like I do. This trail is a bit tricky to find, hence the smaller crowds.

3998 Rivermont Rd Durham, NC

My current favorite trail is actually in my neighborhood, but I’m going to keep that one a secret, as I like having it mostly to ourselves on Sunday afternoons! Find out more great trails on the Eno River Association’s website, and the NC Parks website.

Be sure to check out the Festival for the Eno this Saturday and Monday. It’s a July Fourth tradition for my family. Proceeds go toward preserving the beautiful Eno River.