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Hillsborough River Walk & Occoneeche Mountain Park

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Ayr Mount

Hillsborough River Walk & Occoneeche Mountain Park is a 7.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Hillsborough, North Carolina that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 7.7 mi Elevation gain 603 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Partially paved

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Bugs

Historic site

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities

Park at the Occoneechee Speedway Trailhead lot on the right hand side of Elizabeth Brady Rd. Cross over Elizabeth Brady Rd by the Vetri business and take the compacted trail marked the MST. The trail soon bears right passing the rear of Vetri and down towards a large bridge which crosses over Eno River and bears left to follow the river. Soon after there is an information board marking the beginning of the Hillsborough River walk. After crossing a small bridge along the trail, the compacted trail surface becomes paved and the trail follows the sewer line. As backs of houses start to come into view on the right through the trees, the trail enters Hillsborough River Park. There will be several turn offs on the right to exit the trail into Hillsborough itself. As the trail starts to bear away from the river the remnants of the Occoneeche Indian village comes into view. A small footbridge is crossed and the MST bears left to pass under S Church St. The trail heads uphill on a boardwalk to turn sharply left, then down and right passing a multi-story carpark. At the end of the board walk, the paved surface continues. On the left, an Arts Council structure shaped like a building is seen. The trail climbs uphill to be rewarded with nice views of the Eno River. There is an abundance of benches to stop at. Ignore the trail marked Peggy Cates Bartow loop trail and continue along the MST following the signs marked for Gold Park. Eventually the Peggy Cates Bartow loop comes in from the left, bear right to climb up another boardwalk to cross over Eno River once more. This section is interesting in that the boardwalk is roofed as it crosses under a railway bridge. At the end of this roofed part, the trail widens out to reach the entrance of Gold Park. Take the trail on the left to continue along MST skirting the park. A dog park will be passed on the right as well as some small picnic shelters. Soon after another bridge is crossed. The trail ends abruptly at the end of this section but there is a well worn track that cuts into the parking lot of the Cloth Mill at Eno River and other businesses. Head up the road, pass the trash containers on the left to come out onto Allison St/Eno Mountain Road. Turn left here and cross the road over the barriers. There is a footpath to ensure safe passage down the road and across the road bridge. Just after the bridge, take the unmarked track on the righthand side which follows the river. A short distance later, one will emerge at Occoneeche Mountain Park on the Mountain Loop trail in the park by the power lines. Head down the steps to follow the river and the loop trail which skirts around Occoneeche Mountain. At the junction with Chestnut Oak trail, stay on Occoneeche Mountain Loop trail to emerge at the main parking lot of the Park. Pass the lot on the right and bear left to continue on the Loop trail where it is signposted by an information board off to the right. Follow the loop trail, passing Brown Elfin Knob trail on the left. Eventually the trail intersects with Overlook trail on the left. It is worth making a detour to the end of Overlook trail for the views. Retrace steps back to the Loop trail and bear left to descend down the steps by the power lines to close the loop. Head back along the track to the main road and Gold Park. Retrace steps on the River Walk back to the start point by Occoneeche Speedway trailhead.

No bikes are allowed.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (54)
Photos (311)
Recordings (56)
Completed (109)
Parul Johri
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Hiking

It’s a great trail. Excellent for exercise and goes through very different areas. Has broken glass in some part of it which was not good for our dog.

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sara smith
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Hiking

Beautiful trail clear for biking possibly rollerblading..does anyone rollerblade anymore? Open during be the quarantine so it definitely saved me some sanity. great for taking pictures under the rail road

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Scott Densmore
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Hiking

This was a very enjoyable hike...part pleasant stroll on the Hillsborough Riverwalk and part natural hike with elevation change on the Occoneechee Mountain Park trails. It is very popular, and was particularly crowded on a beautiful January day with moderate temperatures. There are several options to extend your workout. I also included the trails at the historic Occoneechee Speedway at the eastern end of the Riverwalk for a total completed distance of 13.8 miles.

Bill Watson
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Hiking

Great trail, starts off easy along the historic Hillsborough River Walk and is paved part of the way. Actually the whole river walk is wheelchair/stroller friendly as the unpaved portion is hardpack. The trail passes by several parks and is mostly shaded. This part of the trail can be crowded at times. Once you reach the end [and you don't have to cut through the parking lot as the description says], you cross the road, go over the bridge and take a right into the Occoneechee Mountain park. I took the uphill climb under the power lines and straight up to the overlook for a nice view; plus I didn't want to have to do that at the end when I was tired. 8 miles total is a moderate hike and bring about 2 liters of water and a snack if it's hot outside - it was about 90 when I did it. The mountain trail is nice and challenging. You'll notice some road noise from the I-85 side of the hill but once you get around the mountain, and close to the river, it gets quiet again. Found a neat swimming hole right next to a big rock just past the "State Park Ends Here" sign. Also a neat rock wall in the same area. Realize this is part of the Mountains to Sea [MST] Trail and if you are on the trail, you are not on private property. Don't miss the lower quarry views too; I found a nice lizard on the rocks. Finally you will welcome the easy flat stroll back to the car after all the elevation change along the River Walk. Total trail takes about three and a half hours. Enjoy!

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Joseph Smith 0312
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Hiking

just finished his hike it was easy pavement for the first two miles but then finally got to an off Trail site highly recommend for beginners!!

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Thomas Flint
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Hiking

Good trail. Not a good trail if you are looking to get away from the sounds of the city. A little noise. On and off asphalt trial through the beginning few mile stretch that you go down and have to come back up after reaching the mountainous loop trail. Likes of history through which is neat read and see along the way.

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Amy Tippett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 27, 2019
Hiking

It was a beautiful day and the trail started out really easy. Nice walk along the river walk, lots of people around. Once we got to the mountain trail loop, the trail was more moderate. There were decent ups and downs without too much stress on your knees. I enjoyed this trail very much and will hike it again.

Simón P.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 5, 2018
Hiking

It is an easy walk most of the trail, but there are some cool stuff along the way, like a huge bee hotel!

Amy Oldenburg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 4, 2018
Hiking

I can't thank you enough for posting this! I would never have been bold enough to go through the textile mill parking lot, or past the bogus sign at the state park that warns to get permission to enter private property (the segment of trail it is in front of is actually still all on state land -- I think side trails do extend onto private property but not the main trail). This trail is a great way to connect the state park trails with the riverwalk, and you can add even more hiking at the speedway for added fitness.

Grace P.
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Hiking
First to Review

A way of extending Occoneeche Mountain Park with a pleasant easy river walk.

Shekita P.
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Hiking
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Suss Shishani
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Hiking
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Beth Duplaga
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Hiking
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Matthew Hogan
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Hiking
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Ev Theo
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Hiking
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Seth Morgan
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Hiking
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Tammy Dorfman
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Bike touring
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Sallie Stewart
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Hiking
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Todd Anderson
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Hiking
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Alanah Freedman
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Hiking
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Greyson Ray
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Hiking
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Charles Hall
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Hiking
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Sarah Morris
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Hiking
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Mitchell Stierwalt
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Hiking
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Sarah Morris
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Hiking
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Mark Anderson
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Hiking
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Aimee Toney
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Hiking
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Sean Riley
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Hiking
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Anthony Lamberty
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Hiking
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Tammy Lewis
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Hiking
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