The Cole Mill Trail is, for the most part, there so you can access the Bobbit Hole Trail. It does make a nice short hike if you have small children, but generally, itis used to go further upstream on the Bobbitt Hole Trail. It can be accessed from the parking area at the end of the Old Cole Mill Rd., found at the corner of Cole Mill Rd and Umstead. Many years ago, this was the original Cole Mill roadbed across the Eno River. I recommend doing it counter-clockwise so your final hiking is done along the River. Alternatively, many parents with small kids, only go to the river and return the same way. As this is mostly a hiking guide site, I’ll leave partial trail hikes for that purpose to you to figure out. Find the bathrooms half-way down the parking area – the trailhead goes west into the woods at this point on the Cole Mill Trail.
It wanders in the woods in a northwesterly direction, swings back around southwesterly, and you are presented with a trail split. The left split goes to the river on the Cole Mill Trail. At the river, turn left and follow it downriver to a large set of boulders, and a large tree partially in the water. The trail heads uphill at that point, back to the parking lot. The river’s edge trail is a method of accessing the Pea Creek and Dunnagan Trails on the other side of Cole Mill bridge.