Eno River State Park (Cox Mountain Trail)

One of the hikes that Ashley and I had the opportunity to hike during a family trip to North Carolina was the Cox Mountain Trail in the Eno River State Park. The Eno River State Park is well maintained and is a great place to go hiking. The Cox Mountain Trail is a fun hike that both Ashley and I enjoyed. For more pictures make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Trailhead: The Eno River State Park is located in Durham and Orange counties, northwest of the city of Durham. There are two options to get to the trailhead for the Cox Mountain Trail, which is located in the Fews Ford Access of the Eno River State Park. The first option is if you are driving from Interstate 85 exit 173, take Cole Mill Road northwest away from Durham. After five miles, Cole Mill Road will end at the park's Fews Ford Access. The second option is if you are driving from Interstate 85 exit 170, take Hwy. 70 west to Pleasant Green Road. Turn right and follow Pleasant Green 2.2 miles, then turn left on Cole Mill Road. After one mile, Cole Mill Road will enter the park's Fews Ford Access. For a map click Here, or look at the Google Map below.

Description of Hike: The Cox Mountain Trail is located in the Western portion of the Eno River State Park. The Cox Mountain Trail is a loop and is 3.75 miles roundtrip. The hike can be lengthened by adding the Fanny's Ford Trail loop, which adds another mile to the distances. The elevation gain on the Cox Mountain Trail is 270 feet. Trail maps are provided at the entrance to the trails. One of the best things about this park is that the trails are well marked and are well maintained. The Cox Mountain Trail is blazed with blue dots along the trail in addition to brown signs with white letters at all trail intersections.

Additionally, if you are looking for a longer hike that 3.75 miles, this area of the Eno River State Park, offers a total of 14.19 miles of hiking trails along the Eno River and through the rugged hills on either side of the river. The trails vary from easy to more strenuous, but you can combine a number of trails to make hikes as short or as long as you would like them to be. There is no cost for parking and hiking in the Eno, but there are fee's if you camp in the wilderness campgrounds located in the park. The Eno River State Park contains more than 3,900 acres of wilderness. There are a total of five accesses to the Eno River State Park: Cabe Lands, Cole Mill, Few’s Ford, Pleasant Green, and Pump Station. To find out the times at which the different sections of the Eno River State Park are open click Here. As stated above the Cox Mountain Trail is located in the Few's Ford access point.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed hiking in this location. The trail was in great shape and one of the coolest parts of this hike is the suspension bridge that you get to cross. This area is a great location to get good pictures of the Eno River below you. This is a fun hike and you have a great chance at seeing local wildlife. We saw several deer, toads, fish, and several different types of birds. For more information on the ecology of the Eno River click Here.

The Eno River State Park is only minutes from Durham, Hillsborough, and Chapel Hill and it offers secluded wilderness trails with the serenity of a clear river drifting and cascading over a rocky stream bed. The Eno River is a swift, shallow stream flowing from northwest Orange County into Durham County for 33 miles where it joins the Flat River to become the Neuse and flows into Falls Lake. Its waters roll through wilderness, passing historic mill sites, river bluffs covered with flowering shrubs, and fords used by early settlers. Rains can turn the river into a raging torrent, yet it quickly settles into a gentle current. It is a chain of rapids, pools, and riffles meandering through forest on a bed of rock. The valley of the river is narrow and steep walled. The rugged landscape has been carved and sculpted by the swift flowing water.

Lastly, while we were hiking in the Eno River State Park there was a small summer thunderstorm that developed a couple of miles away. It was real neat to be hiking in this forested area while listening to the crashes of thunder several miles away. There is plenty of shade along the entire trail, however there is not as much shade once the trees lose their leaves in the fall. If you are hiking during the warm summer months make sure to bring plenty of water and to use bug spray. The only minor negative about this hike was the high tension power lines that run through a portion of the park. Ashley and I both would recommend a hike in the Eno River State Park the next time you are in North Carolina.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 270 ft. (Easy), Distance: 3.75 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 1.5 - 2.5 hours.


Cox Mountain Trail (This Post)


  1. Nice!!! Glad to see someone else enjoying the NC outdoors!



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Ashley and I encourage and welcome our readers to submit comments about their experiences on the trails we have posted on our blog or about their own hiking experiences in general.