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Buckquarter Creek/Holden Mill – Eno River State Park - Durham, NC

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
7.0 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
2 hours and 40 minutes
750 ft
Eno River State Park
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Park at the area for Few’s Ford access. 36.07816, -79.00709

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins (Contact Zach)

Eno River State Park is the best destination in the Triangle for hiking. With 28 miles of trails in 3 sections of the state park along the Eno River, this is a convenient retreat away from the cities in the region. The west section of the state park is the best spot, with multiple options for loop trails to have a nice 3-mile stroll or a strenuous half-day outing.

This hike starts at Few’s Ford and includes 3 loops on the east side of the river to make a 3-leaf clover hike. Along the way you’ll pass by two 19th century homesteads, mill remnants, and many rocky spots along the river to enjoy the rapids. The Ridge-Shakori loop offers little in the way of scenery, skip this loop unless you want a longer hike. The Buckquarter Creek-Holden Mill loop is the best 2 hour hike in the area so take time to enjoy this wonderful river.

At exit 170 on I-85 go right on US-70 west and take an immediate right at the stoplight for Pleasant Green Rd. After 2.2 miles look for a left turn on Cole Mill Road which enters Eno River State Park. In 0.8-mi just past the visitor’s center there will be a large parking lot for Few’s Ford and Piper-Cox House on the right. The trail starts on the right site near the parking lot entrance

  • Mile 0.0 – Start the hike at the parking area for Few’s Ford access and the Piper-Cox House. A short trail leads down to Eno River from the right side of the lot.
  • Mile 0.05 – Reach Few’s Ford, a wide shallow area of Eno River. The Buckquarter Creek Trail (red blaze) starts on the right. At an unsigned but obvious split, stay left along the river.
  • Mile 0.1 – Pass by numerous cascades and huge boulders along the river for the next 0.2-mi.
  • Mile 0.4 – The river becomes calmer and less rock as the trail levels out in a flat stretch of forest.
  • Mile 0.6 – The trail turns right away from the river, an unmarked trail continues straight.
  • Mile 0.8 – Intersection with Holden Mill Trail (yellow blaze) at a bridge crossing. The Buckquarter Creek Trail turns right and heads back towards Few’s Ford. Cross the bridge over Buckquarter Creek and begin the Holden Mill Trail loop going right uphill.
  • Mile 0.9 – There is a steady uphill climb through mature forest for the next 0.4-mi.
  • Mile 1.4 – The trail passes through a large power line clearing with a view towards Cox Mountain then descends towards a small stream.
  • Mile 1.8 – Intersection with an out-and-back lollipop spur trail to Holden Mill. Go right towards the mill. There is no sign but the spur trail is obvious.
  • Mile 1.9 – The trail splits into a small loop, go right.
  • Mile 2.1 – The trail turns left at the park boundary at a large bend in the river.
  • Mile 2.2Stone remnants of Holden Mill can be seen built into the hillside beside the trail.
  • Mile 2.4 – Return to the spur trail intersection and complete the Holden Mill loop by going right along the river.
  • Mile 2.5 – For the next 0.6-mi the Eno River is very rocky and the trail sometimes climbs over rocks jutting into the river.
  • Mile 3.2 – The trail turns left as it approaches Buckquarter Creek.
  • Mile 3.3 – Cross the bridge over Buckquarter Creek and go left on the loop trail (red blaze).
  • Mile 3.4 – There is a 19th century homestead through the trees in a clearing on the left. There is no official trail but it is easily seen 100 yards from the trail. Beware: since the park doesn’t maintain this clearing in warm months this area is littered with insects and spiders and probably snakes.
  • Mile 3.5 – Intersection with Ridge Trail (blue U blaze) just after the old cabin. Go left on the Ridge Trail (blue U blaze).
  • Mile 3.7 – There is a second, smaller cabin on the right of the trail in another dense clearing.
  • Mile 3.9 – Intersection with the Knight Trail, primarily used for residential access. Stay left on Ridge Trail. In a few hundred feet there is a rock crossing over Buckquarter Creek.
  • Mile 4.0 – Intersection with the Shakori Trail (yellow U blaze) which is the return route.
  • Mile 4.1 – Pass by the backcountry campsite on the left which has a pit toilet, picnic tables, and tent platforms.
  • Mile 4.8 – Ridge Trail ends at park boundary and Shakori Trail (yellow U blaze) goes right.
  • Mile 5.8 – Shakori Trail ends at Ridge Trail (blue U blaze), go left to return to Buckquarter Creek Trail.
  • Mile 6.3 – Reach Buckquarter Creek Trail (red blaze) and go left towards Few’s Ford.
  • Mile 6.5 – The trail straddles a ridge 60-100 feet above the Eno River for the next 0.3-mi. You will have nice views of the river only in cold seasons when the leaves are gone. The views are somewhat akin to a river in the mountains.
  • Mile 6.9 – Loop trail ends at Few’s Ford.
  • Mile 7.0 – Hike ends at the parking lot.
Late September
Buckquarter Creek/Holden Mill
Buckquarter Creek/Holden Mill Hike Comments
Archived Comments

By: Ezra Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 27, 2018
One of my favorite local trails. There's no great climbing or stunning vistas, but you get some altitude over the river and some cool views. Plus there are a few old ruined cabins to explore (as well as the remnants of the Holden Mill you can walk through). Some nice rocks to clamber over down by the river (and a big flat "beach rock" gently sloping into the water that's great for hanging out and getting some sun on a nice day). The westernmost part of this hike (the Holden Mill loop) is not as busy as the Buckquarter Creek loop, so you can expect a little solitude if you go on a day that isn't too busy. Some nice big rocks for bouldering, too!

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