Memorial Day was beautiful here in central North Carolina — sunny and 70 degrees, with a gentle breeze. I took this opportunity to visit a nearby state park I’d been wanting to explore, Occoneechee Mountain, and took along my teenage son to enjoy some exercise and fresh air.
Mostly because of the name, I’ve been curious about this place ever since I moved here, since we aren’t actually in the mountains. It’s hilly, but we’re a couple hours’ drive away from mountain ranges. But what a treat I discovered, tucked away, in a place I’d driven by a thousand times on the interstate but didn’t know a state park existed there.
We parked and started out on our hike to the top, walking through a mostly wooded trail. It was a little over two miles to the overlook. At 867 feet above sea level and 350 feet above the Eno River below, it is the highest point in the county and offers a great view of the expansive, mostly-wooded rural area. And as with all mountain nature trails, the inclines, declines, and occasional steps and bridges add some challenge to the walk. We spent about two-and-a-half hours walking, exploring, and taking in the peaceful forest scenery and the quiet Eno River below.
We were both pretty tired afterwards, and the next morning we were definitely feeling it.
I can only imagine how beautiful this place, and the view from the top, must be in the fall. We’ll definitely plan on returning.
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