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This longer loop visits the three highest points in the park

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687' 210 m


408' 124 m


841' 256 m


841' 256 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek

May-September: 7am - 10pm
March, April, and October: 7am - 9pm
November: 7am - 8pm
December, January and February: 7am - 7pm


If you are looking for a longer hike with lots of elevation change, this is some of the best in the Triangle.

Need to Know

The river ford crossing can be risky in high waters


From the parking lot, follow the signs for Cox Mountain Trail down to the river and across the suspension bridge. Pass the campground and stay left on the Cox Mountain Trail loop. The next mile quickly brings you to the top of Cox Mountain. You head down just as quickly and soon after you arrive at the river you can rock hop across at Holden's Ford.

Now on Holden Mill Trail, you are at the ruins of the old mill. Continue along the river looking for the trail to head up hill to the left as you come down to a creek crossing. When you make the crossing, you follow the creek up until the trail peels off to ascend more directly. After the quick ascent you come back down again

At the bridge crossing stay left on Buckquarter Creek Trail. The trail quickly meets an intersection with Ridge Trail where you can turn left again.

The first half mile moves along through thick forest. Pass the local access trail, Knight Trail, and soon you arrive atthe turnoff for the Shakori Trail on the right. Shortly after, on the left, you find the Buckquarter group campground. From here, the trail builds more powerfully at you rise into beautiful, mature forest. The trail ends at a gate where you can turn around or loop back on the Shakori Trail.

The the trail begins by meandering through open, mature hardwood forest. As you drop down you curve along the edge of the hill where eventually you stay find yourself above a wetlands along the Buckquarter Creek. Turn left as you reconnect with Ridge Trail.

Following Ridge Trail down you meet Buckquarter Creek Trail again. This time staff left to attain the last set of rolling hills that rise up and down above the river. Finally the trail arrives at the river again.

Follow the trail down stream past a few swimming holes until you pass the suspension bridge again and follow Cox Mountain Trail back to the parking lot.

History & Background

There are the ruins of various homesteads


Shared By:

Russell Hobart

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 10 votes


  4.8 from 10 votes
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35 Views Last Month
6,336 Since Sep 17, 2017
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The rocky Eno River flows beside the trail.
Jul 3, 2017 near Hillsbo…, NC
The crossing at Buckquarter Creek is quite scenic.
Jul 3, 2017 near Hillsbo…, NC
A set of wooden steps aids your passage on the uphill.
Jul 3, 2017 near Hillsbo…, NC
Enjoy this pleasant view from the suspension bridge.
Feb 5, 2017 near Hillsbo…, NC
The Eno gurgles along at a low level near the Cox Mountain Trail.
Feb 5, 2017 near Hillsbo…, NC
The wheel pit of Holden's mill: headrace in foreground, pit in the middle where the tree is growing, tailrace in the background. Mill is on the left side.
Jul 30, 2018 near Hillsbo…, NC


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