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. We do not sanction trespassing on private property. There is one 200 foot section of private property along this route, (northwest corner of the Eno River at Pleasant Green Road) and caution to avoid it by fording the Eno River prior to, or obtaining permission, is YOUR responsibility! (I have gotten written permission, but have been asked not to give out their names)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
After exploring the old Mill foundation, continue on the Holden’s Mill Trail along the riverbank downriver. There is some sweet old cabins north of this point, but it is off-trail. These cabins are covered in more detail on the Holden Mill Trail page. At the point where it crosses a small creek, you’ll find that this trail splits left-right. The left loops uphill to the left. The right goes back to the Eno River. Both trails end up at Buckquarter Creek. I’d suggest the river bank option, where you will run into Buckquarter Creek and go upcreek a short way to cross on a footbridge, (the other, over-hill option meets here, too) then return to the river following it downstream. Although immediately after the foot bridge, you can find the uphill part of Buckquarter Creek trail, and visit some interesting old log cabins. Assuming you stayed on the river, you are now on the Buckquarter Creek Trail which will take you to one of two Fords, where you will need to ford the river at any shallow rocky point in the river. Optionally, you could continue downriver another quarter mile and cross at the suspension bridge, and double back to the campsites. If you elect to ford the river, your first ford option, is lovingly called Outhouse Ford, directly opposite the campsite outhouse on the opposite bank in the woods. Currently, there is a black erosion fabric erected at the ford on your side of the river, but just look for the outhouse. The second option is continue for a short way to Fews Ford and cross there. Fews is shallower, but wider. Personally, I prefer to ford at the Outhouse Ford, and stay in my rivershoes all the way to camp 100′ away.
If you crossed at the Outhouse Ford, continue uphill directly into the campsite. If you crossed at Fews Ford, turn right along the riverbank. You’re now on the Fanny’s Ford Trail, and watch for the trail sign to turn left, up the embankment to the campsites.
You DID remember to register for the campsite prior to your trip, right? Stealth Camping anywhere outside established sites, or without a permit in a site is a violation of STATE LAW. Check your requirements here: State Parks Camping Brochure .
I recommend site #5, being closer to the river and the outhouse, but far enough away not to be a bother. The distance to the Campsite from the trailhead is only about 3 miles. My suggestion is to start your hike early enough to settle in camp, drop your gear, and explore the other nearby trails, especially Holden’s Mill if you haven’t already, or the somewhat longer Cox Mountain Trail. If you want to go back to the other side of the river, there are several suitable ford crossings of the Eno at low or moderate river levels, or simply head back to Fews Ford which is almost always passable, or in high river conditions, all the way down to the Suspension Bridge.
In my experience hiking out in Yellowstone, river crossings up to your thighs in cold rushing water is commonplace – you should get used to it – being able to ford a river safely is a good skill to have if you are into hiking and backpacking. Use common sense and make sure you do it with a buddy. Unhook your pack’s waist belt anytime you are in a river, and keep your hiking pole downstream.
In the morning, break camp and you could ford the river immediately if you wish, but I prefer to go the slightly longer route away from the river and join the Cox Mountain Trail, to gain access to the suspension bridge simply to keep footwear dry this early in the morning, plus it is a cool cable bridge. Once on the east side of the river, head downriver past the suspension bridge, turn uphill for a ways on the main trail to where it connects with the Eno Trace Trail. You can, in low water, keep to the riverbank, instead of following the official trail up the steep ridge, connect with the Eno Trace and descend back down again – if you wish. In any case, once on the Eno Trace Trail, follow it as far along the riverbank as it goes, and continue bushwhacking with the riverbank on your right. From here on, for the next 2 miles there is no established trail, but easily bushwhacked in late Fall, all Winter or early Spring. If you are doing this in the dead of Summer, expect high plant growth and Ticks!
While you CAN walk along the riverbank, the bushwhack I did in the middle of winter was a slight hassle – I have to imagine in summer it will be more difficult. There is a lot of deadwood and tall stalky grasses that would be at head level. Where you find yourself close to the powerline cut, use it. There is usually two wheel tracks where crews access the towers making for easier bushwhacking. I suggest walking down the powerline cuts and, every now and then, go sideways to the river to see how it looks at that point, but rejoin the powerline cut to continue traveling south.
See parts of this trail with pictures and commentary in my Trail Journals (click) dated 12/30/2011 Titled “Cox to PG Bushwhack”.
If you have a GPS and can approximate your location after you cross the old abandoned 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. This is VERY close to private property.