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blue Eno Outer Loop

  4.8 ( 4 ) Favorite

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7.4 mile 12.0 kilometer loop


Ascent: 846' 258 m
Descent: -846' -258 m
High: 689' 210 m
Low: 407' 124 m


Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 19% (11°)


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Trail shared by Russell Hobart

This longer loop visits the three highest points in the park

Russell Hobart

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


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Nov 23, 2018
Cesar Reyes
Nov 21, 2018
Sahika R
Nov 19, 2018
Sahika R
Jul 13, 2018
Justin Silverman
Dec 30, 2017
Steven Bergman
Dec 26, 2017
Maddy Hatter
Nov 16, 2017
Otis Durham

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 4 votes


  4.8 from 4 votes
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137 Views Last Month
2,413 Since Sep 17, 2017
Intermediate Intermediate

The "rock hop" to cross over from Cox Mountain to Holden Mill trail is anything but. Right now the water level could not be any lower , but this is not a simple rock hop. At best I would describe it as a wade across and get boots wet, wade over in wellies or take the boots and socks off to ford the river. There is no easy crossing at this point. Dec 26, 2017
Russell Hobart
Chapel Hill, NC
Russell Hobart   Chapel Hill, NC
Hi Maddy, the river is deep right where the trail meets the river, but if you go down further it's not bad. I added a photo that shows you where to cross. Jan 1, 2018
First of all this is a great hike that strings together some of the best trails in the Eno River State Park. Highly recommended. BUT the river crossing between the Cox’s Mountain and Holden’s Mill Trails is very variable. Depending on season and recent rainfall it can be an easy rock hop or an invitation to drowning. Even the crossing at the ford of Buckquarter Creek on the Ridge Trail can become impassable. Have a plan B ready if the water turns out to be high. Jul 11, 2018

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