One thing I love about North Carolina, besides its stunning natural beauty, is the character found in so many towns and spaces. There’s a uniqueness, a creativity, both hidden and in plain view, that manages to weave history and the present. I’ve lived here for almost a decade and I’m still having fun discovering new-to-me places, right in my own backyard. Obviously, this speaks to the dedication and hard work of the people who make these community treasures a reality.
The Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail in Hillsborough is one of those places, and it combines several of my favorite things — history, outdoors and fitness. It’s an old racetrack that was in use from 1948-68 and in 2003 was converted to a park with trails. It’s the last remaining dirt track from NASCAR’s inaugural 1948 season.
The Speedway is a 44-acre site along the banks of the Eno River and is on the National Register of Historic Places. There are three miles of flat, dirt tracks ideal to run or walk, including the original oval loop around the speedway. Today, it’s surrounded by tall pines.
Yesterday was gorgeous and perfect for a walk or run on the trail. My son and I enjoyed being out there, relishing the last days of autumn color. Here is my photo tour of the Speedway trail.
Interested in visiting?
The Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail is located at 320 Elizabeth Brady Road, Hillsborough, N.C., 27278. It is open until sunset, year-round. There is a parking lot on site, and no admission is charged. For more information, see http://www.historicspeedwaygroup.org.
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