Trails in the COX MOUNTAIN AREA are generally accessed from parking areas at the very end of Cole Mill Road, northwest of the intersection where it crosses Pleasant Green Road. Three separate parking areas exist inside the Eno River State Park on Cole Mill Rd., the Ranger Station, the upper parking area immediately past the Ranger Station, and the loop parking area at the very end. To the left of the Ranger Station is a trail that heads to the Eno River. From there, or the more convenient and preferred upper parking area just to the left (southwest) of that, you’ll hit Few’s Ford. Buckquarter Creek Trail climbs up the ridge upriver from there, leaves the river and follows an old roadbed to a point where the Ridge Trail splits off to the right. Ridge Trail meets the Knight Trail and Shakori Trail up Buckquarter Creek. At Buckquarter Creek, (also accessed on the return section of the Buckquarter Creek Trail that runs directly along the river) there is a small footbridge to the Holden Mill Trail, and a short extension to the old mill remnants. There is also a self-named and unblazed access to the west end of Holden Mill Trail called Dumont Trail found off Dumont Rd. If you park at the very end of Cole Mill at the loop parking area, you more easily access the short Eno Trace Trail, and the swinging cable bridge to Cox Mountain Trail and Fanny Ford Trail. The 5 backcountry campsites located in this area are on the Fanny Ford Trail. ( * = See Below.)
FAVORITE COMBINATION TRAILS FOR LONGER HIKES IN THIS AREA:
There are quite a few combinations available in this section and doing all of them in any particular order could total over 12 miles. I will often do Cox Mountain clockwise, turn onto Fanny’s Ford clockwise, ford the river at Few’s Ford (Fanny’s Ford is often not fordable in high water) and take on Buckquarter and Holden’s Mill Trails. Likewise, it is usual to do Buckquarter and Holden’s Mill together, or Buckquarter, Ridge and Shakori together. Knight trail is simply a local resident access for horses. You can also follow the bushwhack trail south to Pleasant Green Road to meet up with the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, Quarry Trail, and points east.
All trails marked with an asterisk (*) require access to it from another trail. Consult the maps to determine how best to reach this trail, or read the trail description for options and recommended combined trails. Mileages given here ADD to the distance required to access the trail from another.