Shop Reservations Newsroom

GO TO PARK

History

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
     

 

 

 

History highlights

Rising more than 350 feet from the Eno River, the Occoneechee Mountain summit is the highest point in Orange County. The summit is also reported to be the highest point between Hillsborough, NC, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Researchers believe that the area's habitat has remained relatively unchanged since the last Ice Age due to the presence of brown elfin, a rare butterfly, as well as several unique plant species. The brown elfin is typically found in mountainous and northern areas, and the nearest brown elfin population to Occoneechee Mountain is more than 100 miles west. When the Piedmont's habitat underwent enormous transformations after the Ice Age, the area became unable to support the brown elfin and other species more accustomed to cooler environments. Brown elfins, believed to have once populated the Piedmont, were restricted to the state's mountains. However, the brown elfin butterflies at Occoneechee Mountain remained.

Less than 2 miles down river in a sharp bend in the Eno, the Occaneechi Indian tribe built a village during the 1600s—after migrating from near present day Clarksville, VA. Their descendents are still a strong presence in the area.

In the colonial period, European immigrants settled the area, and the land was divided and passed through a number of hands. Until the 1950s, a mill village occupied a section of the natural area. The NC Division of Parks and Recreation first purchased land at Occoneechee Mountain in December, 1997. Since then, the natural area has grown to 190 acres.