NOTE: 99% of this hike is on Public lands. The final 100ft crosses private property on a grassy access road where it hits Pleasant Green Road. It is YOUR decision to cross private property without permission. I take no responsibility for your anarchistic tendencies.

 

There is a 2.3 mile section of Eno River that is not connected by any established trails. At the north is the Eno Trace Trail, the short Nature Trail accessed at the very end of Cole Mill Road at the loop parking area – same place as if you were going to Cox Mountain Trail. At the south end is Pleasant Green Road where the Mountains-to-Sea Trail picks up on the south side of the river. In-between these trails is 99% Public lands but without trail.

Describing the bushwhack from the north, take the Eno Trace Trail from the Cole Mill Road Loop Parking area, and stay close to the river until it turns left, headed uphill, and eventually returning to the beginning. At that point, walk in front of the wooden carved bench (a memorial bench left by family of a young woman who committed suicide there) and follow the river bank downriver. There is a slight trail at this point, but the only trails you’ll see from here out are game trails and some seldom-used roadbed accessing the powerline towers.

While you CAN walk along the riverbank, the bushwhack in the middle of winter was a slight hassle – I have to imagine in summer it will be difficult. There is a lot of deadwood and tall stalky grasses that would be at head level. Where you find yourself in the powerline cut, I’d go for it. Just as the river starts to turn south, you’ll be in a cut headed nearly due south – I suggest walking down the cuts and every now and then, go sideways to the river to see how it looks at that point, but rejoin the cut to travel south.

If you have a GPS and can estimate your location after you cross the old Cabe Ford (there is a Cabe Ford Road that no longer crosses the river, but there is some old bridge foundations still visible there), there is a very small cemetery a few hundred yards away from the river, south of Cabe Ford Road (see map). I’ve not seen it yet, but it is the historic cemetery for the slaves of the Cabe family.

Where the river makes an easterly oxbow bend, the powerline cut crosses over to the other side, so you will need to follow the river into the woods. As it makes the sharp southerly turn, you will cross a steep creek, but upcreek about 40 yards it is much shallower and crossable. At that point, stay high. If you follow the riverbank, you will get stuck at some steep rocks on the bank. Staying high headed south you will reach the property line for a house at the end of Shady Lane. This house (currently for sale as of this writing – 12/30/11) has a large pond at the edge of the State Park Property lines. Immediately south of the pond there is an old roadbed heading back to the river, crossing real close to a makeshift rifle range, old shot up pumpkins were on the 55 gal barrels as we walked by. You will come back into the powerline cut at that point, and walk down it, with the River a bit further to your right. Feel free to explore to the river, but it is a bit non-descript at that point.

Eventually, you end up going through some scrub brush along the river to a point where you approach some old farm buildings, with tractors visible along a grassy access road from Pleasant Green. THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY, but a short 400 foot stretch of it. You are cautioned here to have already obtained permission from the owner to cross this short stretch of private property. I will take no responsibility for your tresspass. ALTERNATIVELY you can follow your GPS carefully, and follow the parcel lines to Pleasant Green Road directly opposite Riverbend Drive. Public land stops about 25 feet short of Pleasant Green Road at that point.

At Pleasant Green Road head south to the Parking access area, or, if you are following the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to the Quarry from here, that trail is seen underneath the far southern end of the bridge, on that other side of the river. It cuts through tall grasses, with a bushhog cut through the grass where the trail is.

I have pictures and commentary in my Muthuh’s Trail Journals (click) dated 12/30/2011 Titled Cox to “PG Bushwhack”.

CAUTION: All trails involving what I’m calling bushwhacks, are not sanctioned by the State Parks or Eno River Association authorities, but being Public Lands on State Property, are accessible to the public for exploration. These trails are NOT patrolled or maintained. Use at your own risk with a hiking buddy. The exception on this guide page is the short stretch of private property just short of Pleasant Green Road. I do not sanction tresspass! You might ask..well… what do we do short of tresspassing? Notice on the map above, there is a sliver of land that IS public land that NEARLY touches Pleasant Green Rd. Following your GPS carefully, use that path to Pleasant Green Road, but it still requires a 25 foot tresspass.