In spite of urban development nearby, the woodlands of Eno River State Park are a peaceful haven. In the past farming and the timber industry took away much of the forest. Now the ridges, slopes, and flood plains are once again thick with vegetation. Oak, beech, poplar, maple, dogwood, pine, and hickory dominate the uplands. Sycamore, birch, and hornbeam shade the river banks.
Mountain laurel, Catawba rhododendron and ferns grow on the slopes and bluffs. Wildflowers bloom in the fields and forest from February through November. Vines such as greenbrier, grape, and trumpet flower are part of the backdrop of natural beauty at the park.
Plant communities along the river provide the perfect home for various animals. In the old fields you can find eastern cottontails and ground hogs. White-tailed deer, raccoons, squirrels, and oppossums feed on the fruits and seeds of the hardwood forest. Lucky visitors catch glimpses of chipmunks, otters, and possibly a bobcat.
Birds serenade everywhere in the park. The calls of the red-tailed hawk, barred owl, and crows mingle with the melodies of more than one-hundred kinds of song birds. Wood ducks, great blue herons, and belted kingfishers thrive around the river. Wild turkeys are often seen in the forest.
Beaver are one of the most intriguing animals in the park. This resourceful animal was almost killed off in North Carolina due to excessive trapping but is now back in many parts of the state. They are creatures of the night and seldom seen, but gnawed off stumps and tree trunks are tell-tale signs the beaver has been searching for food. The best times to see a beaver are at dusk or dawn at the river.
The park office provides several wildlife checklists for the park.