Durham has many gems, both manmade and natural. One that shines the brightest around this time of year is the Eno River State Park. With autumn upon us, the trees of the Eno will be ablaze in bright red, orange and yellow. The 3,000 plus acres of natural beauty that surround the Eno River provide the perfect place for a family hike, picnic or photo session. Just a few miles north of downtown Durham you can find yourself lost in the midst of woods, water and wildlife. With 5 easy access points and roughly 25 miles of named hiking trails, it couldn’t be easier to enjoy the celebration of colors that is autumn on the Eno.
The park’s website at www.enoriver.org has everything you need to plan your visit and make the most of your time in the park. The weekend of October 29th is scheduled with fun events from early morning birdwatching to a haunted hike at 5:30pm followed by a Halloween Campfire Celebration at 6:30. Sunday’s activities include a Fall Color Walk at 1pm. Monday the 31st features Hallow-Eno at 6pm. At the site you can also check out the activities already scheduled for November and December.
Most of us know and love the park for the Festival for the Eno; the wonderful music and food festival held around the 4thof July. The Festival is the primary fundraiser for the conservancy that protects the river and surrounding forest. (The park site also provides an easy way to make an online tax deductible contribution to this cause. Otherwise the park is free.) Enjoying the Eno in the fall is a whole different experience. The same beautiful setting without the crowds and heat plus the visual treat of autumn’s bold Technicolor.
The many hiking trails provide loops of differing lengths that take off from convenient parking. Trails follow along the river, cross it on swinging footbridges and run up and down hills. The park provides picnic areas with tables or you can just throw out your own blanket and dine trailside. The river itself is open to canoeing and fishing and the website provides access points for both. Detailed trail maps are also available for downloading and printing at the site.
If you have never been to the park this is the perfect time of year for your introduction. If you are a veteran than you know, autumn may be the most beautiful time of year to spend a day or just an afternoon hiking its trails and enjoying its serenity. Either way, it is one of Durham’s crown jewels and should not be missed showing its colors.