What to do in Eno River State Park

The Eno River Valley is rich in biological and cultural resources, with hardwood forests lining the river banks. Indians of the Eno, Shakori and Occoneechee tribes, lived along the river prior to European settlement. Some of the tribes merged in the late 17th century and established a village near present-day Durham. Settlers moved in later to set up farms and gristmills. More than 30 mills were located along the length of the Eno River.

The area became a state park in 1965, when the city of Durham proposed building a reservoir in the river valley. By 1975, the city had withdrawn its plans for a reservoir and the Eno River Associate and the Nature Conservancy acquired more than one thousand acres of land for the park.

Eno River State Park covers 2,304 acres in Durham and Orange counties with 33 miles of rippling river water, with the park protecting 11 of the 33 miles.

Park Hours: November-February 8 am-6 pm; March, October 8 am - 7 pm; April, May, September 8 am - 8 pm; June-August 8 am - 9 pm. Cole Mill access area opens at 9 am and closes 30 minutes earlier than the park. Pleasant Green Access opens at 8:30 am and closes 30 minutes earlier than the park. Park office hours: 8 am - 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. Gates will remain locked, except in emergency situations, when the park is not in operation. Please plan accordingly. The park is closed Christmas Day.

Recreation
Backpack primitive camping and numerous hiking trails offer refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Few's Ford Access area has a riverside picnic area with two tables. Fifteen more tables and four grills are located just beyond the loop parking lot. The Cole Mill area has ten tables and four grills, a group area with three tables, a grill and a nearby toilet. It also has a picnic shelter with grill.

The group campsite is known as Primitive Group Camping. It is located a quarter mile from the parking area and can accommodate 20 people. It has camper picnic tables, pit toilet and fire circle. Water must be carried in. Reservations must be made (by recognized established groups) in advance through the park office. Campers must park in the camper parking lot and should leave a note on their vehicles indicating they are camping.

Hike-in camping is allowed on five designated sites about one mile from the camper parking lot. No water is available and fires are not allowed on the site. One pit toilet serves the five sites. Permits may be obtained from the park office. The sites are available on a first-come/first-served basis. Again, campers should park in the camper parking lot and leave a note on their vehicles indicating they are camping.

However, river / freshwater fishing is permitted. Many good fishing spots can be found along the Eno River. Roanoke bass or redeye are native to this area. Other species include largemouth bass, chain pickerel, sunfish, redhorse and catfish. All regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission are enforced.

Canoeing is permitted along the Eno River. Safe and adequate water depth is between one and three feet. Gauges can be found on the bridge pillars at Pleasant Green, Cole Mill and Guess Roads. Canoe launch points are located at Few's Ford parking lot, Pleasant Green Dam and Cole Mill access areas. Note: There is very little vehicular parking on road shoulders at Cole Mill and Guess Road Bridges.

Guided tours and educational programs are available for groups upon request as time and scheduling allows. Self-guided tours are available year round with information from the park office. Call or write the park office for information regarding scheduled interpretive events. Environmental Educational Learning Experience (EELE) Booklet–Living Water. Grades: 5, 6, and 7. Introduces students to a divers high quality river system, the Eno River. Major concepts covered include: water quality, indicator species, water testing, watersheds, aquatic sampling, resource management and stewardship. This publication is available free of charge to North Carolina educators through an EELE workshop. Contact the park office for details.

Accessible facilities include: pathway from parking lot to park office as well as the entrances, the restrooms and water fountain. The picnic area at Cole Mill Access and the park office have parking spaces provided for persons with disabilities. Cole Mill Access also has an accessible picnic shelter, picnic tables, restrooms and water fountain.

Location
From I-85 South to Durham, take Cole Mill exit, turn right, after 5 miles road will enter the park. From I-85 North, take Exit 170 between Hillsborough and Durham. Make a U-turn after coming off the exit ramp, go under the interstate a quarter mile, turn right on Pleasant Green Road, then turn left at intersection with Cole Mill Road.

Climate
North Carolina has a temperate climate with mild winters and long fall and spring months. Summers can be hot and humid, especially in the piedmont and coastal plain region, which don't get relief from coastal breezes or higher elevations. The mountains tend to be substantially cooler and receive some winter snow.

In the Piedmont Region, winter daytime temperatures normally range from the upper 30's to the upper 40s. Summer daytime temperatures range from the high 70's to the low 90's. The state has a fairly wet climate with an average precipitation for this area averaging 44-52 inches (112-132 centimeters).

Address
6101 Cole Mill Road
Durham, NC 27705-9275

Phone: 919-383-1686

Fax: 919-382-7378

Email: enoriver@gte.net
  • Eno River State Park Travel Q&A

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