A Return Hike to Eno River Rock Quarry

A couple weeks ago, on Sep. 26, 2021, I took an easy mile-and-a-half hike to the Eno River Rock Quarry, accessible from the Cabe Lands access at Eno River State Park (4950 Howe St., Durham, NC 27705).

It wasn’t my first time (to see that, click here), but it was a memorable occasion, if only because it’s one of the most peaceful and photogenic nature spots in central North Carolina.

Around 4:00 PM, I arrived, got out of my car, and joined Cabe Lands Trail. Soon I was hiking through a forest of beech and pine on a gentle downward slope, and at the first fork in the trail, I took a left.

For another quarter mile, I followed the west branch of Cabe Lands Trail through the woods, up and down hills, and over the occasional creek. Then I reached another fork in the trail and took a left onto Eno Quarry Trail.

More of the same continued for another quarter mile. (The scenery through this part of the hike is unremarkable, which is why I haven’t included any photos.) Then I reached Rhodes Creek, a small but charming creek that borders the south edge of Eno River Rock Quarry.

On the opposite bank, I climbed a set of steep steps and took a sharp left .

The trail at this point is very narrow and comes quite close to the water at times.

After a few hundred feet, I rounded a bend, crossed some wooden planking, and came to one of the quarry’s best vantage points.

(Despite its name, the quarry — which is now filled in with water — looks like a normal lake, though a surprisingly deep one for such a small size.)

Then I moved a little further along.

After several photos, I continued hiking. Within a couple hundred feet, I came to another bend and soon found several couples lying together in hammocks. (Apparently they’d never heard of — ahem — getting a room.)

After the amorous couples, I came to the diving spot, where people often jump into the quarry in summer. As usual, the view was exceptional.

Then I hiked a bit further and came to another bend–which, from the look of it, was the original entry to the quarry when it was still functional.

(There are old roads, now overgrown but faintly discernible, that converge on this point, and the ground seems to give way more gradually than at other points around the quarry, where the edges of the lake are steep and sheer.)

Within another few hundred feet, I came to the east side of the quarry.

Through a clearing on my right, a lone soul floated lazily in the late afternoon sunlight, oblivious to the world.

Shortly after this, I came to a steep bank, hopped down, and found Rhodes Creek again.

The view here is quite charming. But if you’re going to take a selfie, be aware that the stones in the creek are unstable and, if you’re not careful, you can easily end up with a mouthful of river pebbles.

After returning to Eno Quarry Trail, I hiked another few hundred feet and came back to where I started. And as I made my way back on the reverse leg of the trail that brought me there, I felt a peace and contentment that often comes from a close encounter with nature.

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