Click the links below to view information about activities for this park.
|Education and Events|
Camping: Find solitude and peace among tall trees and a symphony of forest creatures camping at Eno River State Park. The park has backcountry camping available to families, individuals, and groups at the Fews Ford and Cole Mill Accesses. All sites require hiking in and supplies must be carried in. There is not a potable water source at the sites.
Family/Small Group/Individual Camping: At Fews Ford Access follow a secondary trail off the Fanny's Ford trail to reach the Fanny's Ford Campground, one mile from the parking lot. There are five sites on a hill a short distance from the river. At Cole Mill Access follow the Bobbitt Hole Trail to the Piper Creek Campground about 1.2 miles from the parking lot. Five sites are near Piper Creek and a short walk to the river. Each site has a pad for tents, fire ring, lantern hook, and bench and a pit toilet serves each campground.
Group Camping: The Cox Mountain Group Camp is a short distance from the Cox Mountain Trail and the suspension bridge across the river and is set on a wooded ridge near the river. The hike is 3/8 mile from parking. Maximum accommodation is 26 persons. The Buckquarter Creek Group Camp has two sites near the junction of Buckquarter and Martin Cabin Creeks, just off the Ridge Trail. The hike is 1.2 miles from parking. Each site accommodates a maximum of 15 people. All group sites have tent pads, picnic tables, fire rings with benches, and a pit toilet. All tents must fit on the pads. Reservations are required.
Canoeing: Travel the Eno by canoe or kayak passing through rolling hills and deep forest. Canoeing is usually difficult due to shallow water but is great fun right after a rain which raises the water level creating class I, II, and III rapids. Levels are measured from gauges painted on road bridges and the Durham station USGS river gauge which can be viewed on the internet. Optimal canoeing is 1 to 3 feet on the bridge gauges and 3 to 5 feet on the USGS gauge. Below these levels requires some portaging. Above these levels is dangerous. Personal flotation devices should always be worn.
The best rapids are between Highway 70 Bypass in Hillsborough and Roxboro Road in Durham. The river continues at a slower pace from there down stream to Falls Lake. Canoe accesses are located in several areas of the park. Please respect the rights of private landowners along the river.
Education and Events: Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about Eno River State Park. Please click the Events link on the park menu to the left to search our database of park events.
To arrange a special exploration of Eno River State Park for your group or class, contact the park office.
Educational materials about Eno River State Park have been developed for grades 5-7 and are correlated to North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The Eno River program introduces students to the Eno River and focuses on water quality, indicator species, water testing, watersheds, aquatic sampling, resource management and stewardship. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators. To learn more about environmental education at the parks or to search our database of upcoming workshops, please click the Education tab above.
Fishing: Wet your line in one of the best fishing streams in the Neuse River Basin. The Eno is a great place for fly-fishing, casting lures, or baiting with the ever reliable worms and crickets. Most of the river can be waded and there are many openings for bank fishing. Commonly caught game fish include largemouth bass, bluegill, redbreast sunfish, and the feisty Roanoke bass. Roanoke bass, locally know as "red-eye" are found in only four river drainages in northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. Chubs and bullheads add to the fishing fun. All North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission fishing regulations are enforced.
Occoneechee Mountain, a nearby state natural area that is a administered by Eno River State Park, also offers fishing. Please use the "Find a park" dropdown (left) to visit the Occoneechee Mountain website.
Hiking: Stepping onto an Eno River trail is a journey into tranquility. Follow the river bank, journey through the woodlands, or hike a short nature trail for a close look at Eno River State Park. Go up Cox Mountain for a challenging climb through scenic hardwood forest. Travel the Bobbitt Hole Trail to one of the most scenic spots on the river, where water rushes over rocks and greenery hangs from stone-lined bluffs. Eno River has almost 28 miles of trail to take you into the heart of nature. All trails are blazed and signed. Request a park trail map for descriptions and distances.
Occoneechee Mountain, a nearby state natural area that is a administered by Eno River State Park, also offers hiking. Please use the "Find a park" dropdown (left) to visit the Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area website.
Picnicking: Two picnic areas provide the perfect spot for enjoying a meal in the open air. One of the picnic grounds is located in the Fews Ford access area, adjacent to the parking lot. Fews Ford has 20 picnic sites, 10 of which are handicapped accessible. An accessible water fountain and restrooms are nearby. A 12-table picnic shelter with a fireplace and grill is also accessible and can be reserved for a fee. The Cole Mill picnic area, nestled in a wooded setting, includes 10 tables and four grills with drinking water and restrooms nearby. A group picnic area includes three tables and grill. Cole Mill also has two wheelchair-accessible picnic tables and an accessible picnic shelter with eight tables and a grill. The shelter may be reserved for a modest fee. The reservation form is available on the menu to the left under "Forms & Permits."
There are 13 backcountry camp sites at Eno River State Park. Three group sites, by reservation only and ten individual or small group sites. Reservations can be made online at least 48 hours in advance. Walk in reservations will be taken on a first arrival basis.
Cox Mountain Group Camp: This site, off the Cox Mountain Trail, is on a knoll above the river. It is available by reservation only to a minimum of 6 and maximum of 26 people. There are four 15'x15' and one 15'x10' tent pads, 4 picnic tables, and 2 fire rings with grills and benches. There is one pit toilet for this site. All supplies must be packed in. It is a 3/8 mile hike to the closest parking lot.
Buckquarter Creek Group Camp: Two sites off the Ridge Trail are at the junction of Buckquarter and Martin Cabin Creek. They are available by reservation only and each hold a minimum of six and a maximum of 15 people. They are about 40 yards apart and a group larger than 15 may reserve both sites. Each site has three 15'x15' tent pads, a fire ring with a grill and benches, and three picnic tables. All supplies must be packed in. It is a 1.2 mile hike from the closest parking lot. A single pit toilet is shared by both campsites.
Group Camp Fees: The cost is $1 per person per night plus $3 per night. A deposit of $12 is due with the reservation application. This covers the first nine campers. Additional fees must be paid at the office on arrival. The deposit is non refundable. There is a $10 dollar transaction fee to change sites or nights. Reservations for group camps should be made online at least 48 hours in advance of the desired date.
Reservation forms are available from the Eno River State Park office or from the menu to the left from the 'Forms and Permits' link. Check with the park office for available dates.
Small group / individual sites:
These sites are in two campgrounds. Sites 1-5 are in the Fanny’s Ford campground inside the Fanny’s Ford Trail loop on a small hill above the river. Sites 6-10 are in the Piper Creek campground off the Bobbitt Hole Trail and near Bobbitt Hole. Sites are in the same vicinity but not next to each other. The cost is $12 per night per campsite.Reservations can be made online at least 48 hours in advance, walk in reservations will be taken on a first arrival basis. Each site has a tent pad. Site tent pads are approximately 240 square feet and accommodate up to 6 people. Each site has a fire ring. A pit toilet serves each campground. All supplies must be packed in. It is a 1 mile hike from the Fews Ford campsite parking lot to the Fanny’s Ford campground. It is a 1.2 mile hike from the Cole Mill parking lot to the Piper Creek Campground.
Registration for all campsites is at the park office. Staff registers campers when the office is open. A self registration station is available on the office deck when staff are unavailable. Follow the steps posted on the bulletin board for self registration. Exact change is necessary for self registration. Make checks out to the Treasurer of North Carolina. All campers must be accompanied by someone at least 18 years old. All campers should check in at the park office first, even if their deposit covers their fee.
Camp in the designated campsites only, nowhere else in the park.
Fires are permitted only in fire places in the campgrounds and picnic areas, nowhere else in the park. Cooking on the trail must be on a camp stove. Split firewood is often provided at campgrounds. Check ahead regarding wood availability. Campers may collect dead and down firewood anywhere within sight of the campsites. Do not leave fires unattended.
Water is available at the Fews Ford and Cole Mill Picnic Areas. Any natural water collected should be properly treated before consumption. Potable water is not available at the campsites nor are natural waters tested for consumption.
Tents must be pitched and fit on the provided pads.
Parking for the Fanny’s Ford and Cox Mountain group sites is available in the designated campsite parking lot at Fews Ford Access. Leaving the park office, turn right on Cole Mill Road. Take the first left which is a gravel road, then the next left into the parking lot. This lot is the shortest hike to the campsites. Parking for the Buckquarter Creek group sites is at the Piper-Cox Museum. Parking for the Piper Creek Campground is at the Cole Mill picnic area. Place a note on the dash of all cars registered to the campsites indicating “camping” and the overnight dates. Park office staff can provide these notes.
Trash must be packed out. Litter laws are strictly enforced!
Not Permitted: Alcoholic beverages, guns, bows, hunting, fireworks. For a complete list of N.C. State Park regulations, check with the park office.
Quiet Hours are 10:00 pm to 7:00 am. Be respectful of your neighbors.
Backpacking Between Campgrounds: For treks between campgrounds be mindful that there is private property along the river. Permission must be granted by private land owners to cross their property. The park map indicates which sections are not park. Be respectful of private property rights and trespassing laws. If hiking along a road be safe and hike off the road, on the left shoulder to see oncoming traffic, and wear bright clothing.
Cellular telephones or pay telephone on the park office deck
(919) 383-1686 – Park Office: Park Rangers are your closest and swiftest response for medical, law enforcement, lost person, or fire emergencies.
After hours or if no one is at the park office call 911. Tell them you are camping at either the Fews Ford Access (Fanny’s Ford and Group Camp) or Cole Mill Access (Piper Creek) of Eno River State Park in Orange County. With cellular telephones 911 does not always get the county you are in. Tell the communicator to send help and to contact the Eno River State Park Rangers. Emergency personnel will have difficulty finding you and usually need park rangers to get them to your location.
The park gate is locked during closed hours. For emergency use only office staff will provide the gate lock combination to registered campers.
Select "Hours of Operation" from the menu on the left.
Parking outside the gate or entering the park during closed hours is not permitted.
Canoeing and kayaking are wonderful and exciting ways to experience the Eno River. However, the river is generally shallow and rocky. Under normal conditions, the boaters must frequently get out and pull their boats over shallow, rocky places. The best time to run the Eno is after heavy rains raise the water level. Good canoeing conditions can occur any time during the year but are most common during the winter and spring and happen less frequently during the summer and fall.
Eno River State Park staff maintain painted gauges on the Pleasant Green and Cole Mill Road bridges. The gauges are relative to canoeing conditions and do not reflect actual river depths. Normally these gauges indicate a river level of three inches or less, which is poor for canoeing. At three to six inches, canoeing is fair, six to twelve inches is good, and one to three feet is excellent. When the bridge gauges exceed three feet, the river is dangerous. Above three feet, the river exceeds its banks, turning adjacent trees into strainers and moves at a speed and force beyond the capacity of most people to self-rescue. A correlation has been made between the bridge gauges and the Durham river depth gauge maintained by the USGS. The USGS updates their gauge on an hourly basis and it can be viewed at the USGS website (See 'Current Conditions' on the menu to the left). The correlation is to simply subtract two feet from the USGS gauge to get the approximate gauge reading found at the Pleasant Green and Cole Mill Road bridges. For example if the USGS gauge shows a depth of three feet, you would expect the river level to be about one foot. Therefore, if you were viewing the USGS gauge, canoeing conditions would be as follows: less than 2.25 feet is poor, 2.25 to 2.50 feet is fair, 2.50 to 3.00 feet is good, 3.00 to 5.00 feet is excellent, and greater than 5.00 feet is dangerous.
Kayaks generally do better than canoes when the river is shallow because they draw less water. Canoes with one person do better than those with two or three for the same reason.
The Eno River State Park Staff can advise current river levels. Telephone them at (919)-383-1686.
Not all of the Eno River is park land. Respect private property. Carry a map and know where you are. There are no canoe rentals at Eno River State Park.
All trips, except one, follow the river’s current one way requiring transportation be placed at the up stream launch site and the down stream take out site. Trip times vary depending on water level, skill, and weight. Travel times given are average.
1. LAUNCH: U.S. 70 at the Eno River bridge, east of Hillsborough. Park on the broad DOT road shoulder at the NW corner - Hwy. 70 & Riverside Rd. Steep bank down to the river with kudzu and poison ivy, use caution as slipping is easy. There is no developed launch.
TAKE OUT: Few’s Ford in Eno River State Park at the Piper-Cox Parking Lot. There is a 160 yard walk on a trail between the lot and
DISTANCE TIME: 5.37 miles/ 2 ¾ hours
ELEVATION DROP: 73 feet (14 feet per mile)
NOTES: A lot of Class I rapids, (2) Class 2 rapids, (1) Class 3 rapid just before the take out. This Class 3 should be scouted before running. It is best to run it at the slick and stay to the left of the rock. This section of the river, known as the Eno Wilderness, is wild and scenic with little evidence of man. Historic points include the ruins of Berry’s Public Mill, Holden’s Mill, and the Few’s Mill Ford site.
2. LAUNCH: Few’s Ford in Eno River State Park at the Piper-Cox parking lot. There is a 160 yard walk on trail between the lot and ford.
TAKE OUT: Pleasant Green Access in Eno River State Park. Parking lot is 20 yards from take out.
DISTANCE/TIME: 2.79 miles/1 ¾ hours
ELEVATION DROP: 13 feet (5 feet/mile)
NOTES: This is a novice section with a few Class I rapids. At the historic Cabe Ford the river passes an old weir. Stone’s Creek
enters from the west 300 yards up stream from the Pleasant Green parking lot. It is a scenic cascade resembling a mountain stream.
3. LAUNCH: Below the parking lot at the Eno River State Park Pleasant Green Access. A narrow set of steps lead down the river bank from the park lot 20 yards away.
TAKE OUT: Cole Mill Access in the Eno River State Park. A small landing dock is provided on the left and steps lead up the hill to
the parking lot 60 yards away.
DISTANCE/TIME: 3.51 miles/2 hours
ELEVATION DROP: 50 feet (14 feet/mile)
NOTES: This is one of the most scenic sections of the Eno as it passes through Cabe Gorge and by several old mill sites. Many short Class I and a few Class II rapids. Dropping into the Bobbitt’s Hole is borderline Class II/III. Technical paddling is needed through the rocks in Cabe Gorge.
4. LAUNCH: Cole Mill Access in the Eno River State Park. A small landing dock is provided and steps lead down from the parking lot 60 yards away.
TAKE OUT: West Point on the Eno City Park. Take out on the cleared, right bank as you approach the mill dam. Park road and parking
is 100 yards from take out.
DISTANCE/TIME: 5.19 miles/ 2 ½ hours
ELEVATION DROP: 67 feet (13 feet/mile)
NOTES: Many short Class I and Class II rapids. You will pass by the Old Pump Station, Guess Mill Dam (broken through on the right side), and Sennett Hole. The West Point Mill is at the take out. Use caution above the mill dam, it is a dangerous drop and a powerful hydraulic during high water.
5. LAUNCH: Below Mill Dam at West Point on the Eno City Park, about 100 yards from parking lot.
TAKE OUT: Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve at the Old Oxford Highway bridge. Parking lot is near the river on Snow Hill Road at the
intersection with Old Oxford Highway.
DISTANCE/TIME: 4.54 miles/2 ½ hours
ELEVATION DROP: 23 feet (5 feet/mile)
NOTES: Frequent short Class I riffles. The river begins to slow down upon the Triassic Basin. More development is seen but the river is still pretty. The river is less rocky than upstream.
6. LAUNCH: Old Oxford Highway at Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve. Parking is in the lot near the river at the intersection on Snow Hill Road at the intersection with Old Oxford Highway.
TAKE OUT: Eno River Boat Ramp on Akzo Blvd. Near Red Mill Road.
DISTANCE/TIME: 4.78 miles/3 hours
ELEVATION DROP: 4 feet (1 foot/mile)
NOTES: After leaving Penny’s Bend, there are few riffles. If Falls Lake is at normal level, you will reach the backwater of the lake in 1.6 miles. From there, it is flat water to the ramp operated by the Wildlife Resources Commission. The river is deep but not wide. The surrounding lands, relatively flat, are State Gamelands.
Notes About Rapids:
The rapids described are present when water levels exceed six inches on the bridge gauges or 2.25 feet on the USGS Durham gauge. Rapids in the Eno are short in duration, broken by stretches of quiet water.
For Your Safety:
- Know your physical condition. The river will wear you out.
- Rangers patrol the State Park accesses. All cars are expected to be out of State Park areas at the gate closing times, which are posted at the entrance to each State Park access. Rangers will investigate cars in State Park accesses at closing time and try to determine if canoeists need assistance. If you park at the Pleasant Green, Cole Mill, or Guess Road bridges in the State Park, you run the risk of rangers being unaware that you may be in trouble. Leave a float plan visible in your vehicles.
- The launch sites/take outs that are not in the State Park are not routinely patrolled.
- Do not canoe alone. Buddy boats are good.
- Bring an extra paddle.
- Brink drinking water.
- There is a strong risk of hypothermia paddling in cold weather. When air temperatures are less than 60 degrees, paddlers should wear appropriate wet or dry suits for warmth.
- Expect to spill and be prepared.
- No alcohol
Rules: Fishing is permitted in Eno River State Park and Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area and is a lot of fun. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Regulations apply.
A North Carolina fishing license is required except children under 16 years old may fish anywhere in the park with any bait without a license.
Other restrictions include:
Spear guns, bows and arrows are not permitted.
Bait collecting is not permitted on the park.
Only campers or persons with special activity permits may fish during closed hours.
Release, unharmed, any fish of any species you do not intend to take home.
What You Can Catch
The commonly caught fish in the Eno are:
Common fish caught at the Occoneechee Mountain ponds are:
Common fish caught in the Eno Quarry are:
For a checklist of the 61 fish species known in the Eno, contact the park office. Fish are plentiful in the river but because it is a small river, trophy size fish are rare.
How is the River Best Fished?
The Eno River is a series of alternating slow stretches and fast moving riffles. The slower stretches have pockets of deeper water generally two to four feet. It is best to work up or down river locating these deeper spots and fishing near rocks or downed trees. The fish move around a lot so the hot fishing areas are constantly changing.
Wading the river gives the best access to the choice spots without the interference of trees. However, there are many scattered openings on the banks to be sought out for access.
Fly fishing tends to catch the most quantity, but they tend to be smaller fish. Crickets, worms, spinner lures, and artificial minnow lures do better than fly fishing catching “keeper” size fish.
Specific Suggested Locations
Few’s Ford - A long stretch up to 6 ½ feet deep. Plenty of open access for bank fishing. Immediately upstream from Few’s Ford on the Buckquarter Creek Trail 150 yards from the Piper Cox parking lot.
Pleasant Green - This is the easiest place on the river for fishermen to access with the closest parking lot to the river. Access from several spots on the bank.
Bobbitt Hole - The deepest place in the river. Hike the Bobbitt’s Hole Trail to the end, about 1.3 miles from the Cole Mill parking lot along the river. Several bank locations are open for casting.
Bob’s Hole - Right below the ruins of the old Durham Water Pump Station. From Rivermont Road hike the Pump Station Trail 600 yards to river. Leave the trail at the ruins and hike down river about 50 yards.
Pea Creek – From the Cole Mill parking lot hike the Pea Creek Trail 0.7 mile along the river to the mouth of Pea Creek. There is deep water ranging up to 8 feet at that point and open bank for casting.
Fly fishing is good everywhere.
Occoneechee Ponds - These are old farm ponds. Portions of the banks and the dams are mowed for access. Parking is 275 yards away.
Piper Hole - On the Eno Trace Trail at the base of the steps. Good access. 200 yards from the Few’s Ford Picnic Area.
Eno Quarry – On the Eno Quarry Trail at the Cabe Lands Access. 0.8 mile hike from parking. Openings on the bank allow several casting spots. Maintained trail circles. Be cautious. There is no shallow water. Drop offs from the bank are 2-18 feet.