SECTION FIVE: The remainder of the Grand Eno Trail that I am suggesting, goes further to Penny’s Bend, near Old Oxford Rd which is where I suggest you leave your end-of-trail vehicle. Just follow the MST under the Pedestrian Bridge at Roxboro Road, under the road itself, and continue on through the City of Durham’s River Forest Trail, which is also the MST at this point. It will merge with the trail system at Penny’s Bend. If you’re feeling good, follow the river downstream making a big u-turn, ending up at the parking lot. If you’re wanting to shorten the hike by a mile or so, turn left at the merge, left again at the trail intersection up on high ground, heading northeast back down to the river and the parking lot.
The so-called Grand Eno Trail ends at this point. However, the MST continues on for another 22 miles to Rollingview Campground, then another 15 miles to Shinleaf Camground. Recently two new campgrounds have been added east of Penny’s Bend. One is on Private land, the Ward Campsite, is 3 miles east of Penny’s Bend parking area, about 1.2miles short of Red Mill Road on the MST. The other is on Federal land off Redwood Roadjust before the bend at Hereford Road. Both are detailed on the MST Website: http://www.ncmst.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/10-Eno-River-and-Falls-Lake-View-Online.pdf at MM 18.1 and 28.5 respectively. Both have 7 camping spots each and minimal facilites.
Your only option is to do some stealth camping…. now… a word about Stealth Camping. I am not recommending it for obvious reasons… it is illegal and I cannot take responsibility for your illegal actions, because – your honor – I recommended against it. Having said that… most all of the land beyond Penny’s Bend along the Eno River is Federal Land operated by the Army Corps of Engineers as the State-operated Falls Lake Recreation area. Can you get away with Stealth Camping? Yeah, maybe, sorta, kinda, possibly. I personally cannot hike from Piper Creek Campsites to Rollingview Campsite, a distance of 33.5+ miles, with a backpack on, so camping somewhere in here is a must for me. You COULD have a car at Old Oxford Road, go home, or find a motel, and continue in the morning, but I always run on the premise of Beg Forgiveness, Don’t Ask Permission…but that is MY personal philosophy – this site and my recommendation to you, is don’t stealth camp. Remember, this is Federal Land which means you could be hauled to the nearest Federal Magistrate for your day in court. Is it likely? You be the judge of that.
I’d be eager to hear from you how your trip went – let me know.