Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area

In the beginning of 2019 my family decided to start a “State Park Bucket List”. North Carolina has 41 State Parks spread throughout the state and thus far, we have only visited a handful of them.

We started checking off our 2019 list with a park that we have visited many times before – Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area located in Hillsborough, NC. If you are interested in checking it out yourself, the link is here: https://www.ncparks.gov/occoneechee-mountain-state-natural-area

Occoneechee boasts a couple of fishing ponds and several trails that wind their way around and up the mountain which rises 350 feet from the Eno river – the summit is the highest point in Orange County.

My girls are currently 5, 9 and 11 years old and the trails here are easy enough for them to hike without issues and challenging enough to keep things interesting. There are trail maps located near the parking lot for reference (speaking of – this park has a VERY small parking area so you may want to arrive earlier in the day during the weekend) and the trails are clearly marked.

We spent a lovely day in February walking these trails while my husband fished. The overlook was a bit crowded on the Saturday we went but the trails were not too bad.

The girls have a few favorite spots on this trail including some small wooden bridges, a tower that you walk underneath and some very large rocks in several places that they love to climb on (and where we ate lunch).

The only complaint that I have about this trail system is that during the weekend there is a lot of foot traffic (people with dogs too) so if you are looking for solitude – this is not the place for that. It is also very near the interstate in several places and you can hear the traffic sounds during a small portion of the trail.

That being said – we had a great day and I recommend Occoneechee for anyone looking for an easy hike or for people with smaller children.

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