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Ecology

Trail at Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area
Current status of park facilities   

All facilities at Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area are open as of September 11.

Beginning on September 14, the park office at Eno River State Park is open from Monday to Friday, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Beginning on September 20, the park office is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A properly worn mask or face covering, covering both the nose and the mouth, is required to enter the park office at Eno River State Park. Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines throughout the park, regardless of the behavior of others. Bring a mask or face covering even if you are planning to only be outside; they are required to be worn when you cannot stay 6 feet away from park staff or other visitors. Wash or sanitize your hands before, during, and after your visit. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home.

 Last updated on: Friday, September 11, 2020


Map of North Carolina – Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area


Contact the park

This state natural area is managed by Eno River State Park. Contact the Eno River office for any inquiries:
 

919-383-1686

eno.river@ncparks.gov
 

Addresses
 

State natural area

625 Virginia Cates Road
Hillsborough, NC 27278

GPS: 36.0608, -79.1169

 

Eno River State Park office

6101 Cole Mill Road
Durham, NC 27705

GPS: 36.0783, -79.0050
 

Hours
 

► 

  • November to February:
    8:00am to 6:00pm
     
  • March to April:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • May to August:
    8:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • September to October:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

► 

  • Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area does not have an on-site office. The hours for the Eno River park office are listed below:
     
  • November to February:

Monday to Friday:
8:30am to 4:30pm

Saturday to Sunday:
9:00am to 5:00pm
 

  • March to October:

Monday to Thursday:
8:30am to 4:30pm

Friday:
8:30am to 8:00pm

Saturday to Sunday:
9:00am to 5:00pm
 

  • Closed Christmas Day
     

 

 

 

Natural resources

Get plant and animal checklists at the park office.

Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area showcases a diversity of natural communities, and such diversity is found nowhere else in the Triangle area. The relatively undisturbed forest of the ridge top includes one of the best chestnut oak stands in the region. And, the mountain area itself, adjacent to the upper Eno River, is important wildlife habitat. The acorns and berries produced by the chestnut oaks and other area plants support a population of animals, including deer, groundhog and wild turkey.

The top of Occoneechee Mountain's ridge and northern slopes provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species that are typically found in the mountains, and some plant species reach their easternmost limits here. These include Bradley's spleenwort and wild sarsaparilla. Catawba rhododendron is present on the steep rock outcrop adjacent to the ravine, and a mountain laurel-galax community grows on the ravine's slopes. Sweet pinesap, another rare plant, also grows here, along with large witch-alder. Yet another mountainous species that grows in the natural area is the purple fringeless orchid.

In addition, several rare animal species found nowhere else in the region are present in the park. These include the brown elfin butterfly. Separated by more than 100 miles from other brown elfin populations in the mountains, the brown elfin butterfly is believed to have survived at Occoneechee Mountain since the Ice Age. Although the brown elfin is found virtually nowhere else in the Piedmont, the population on Occoneechee Mountain is quite large.