Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough

Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area is a North Carolina state park in Orange County, North Carolina in the United States. Located adjacent to the town of Hillsborough, it covers 190acre and includes Occoneechee Mountain, the highest point (867 ft) in Orange County and a settlement of the Occaneechi tribe.HistoryRising more than 350ft from the Eno River, the Occoneechee Mountain summit is the highest point in Orange County.Researchers believe that the area's habitat has remained relatively unchanged since the last Ice Age due to the presence of the brown elfin, a rare butterfly, and several unique plant species. The brown elfin is typically found in mountainous and northern areas, and the nearest brown elfin population to Occoneechee is more than 100mi 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.The land the state natural area now sits on was originally settled by the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, who traveled to the mountain from the west. In the colonial period, European immigrants settled the area. Until 1987, 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 nearly 124 acres.
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Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area Reviews
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78 reviews
  • Longest trail is a comfortable 2 miles. Very pretty walk and a wonderful view of the valley. Close to a busy highway so you do hear quite a not of traffic noise at the beginning of the trails.  more »
  • Not an urban park by any means -- a small state recreation area that has rigorous uphill climbs, scenic wooded trails, fishing in ponds, paths along a river, and a small picnic area. Very pretty, quie...  more »
  • We stumbled upon Occoneechee Mountain State Park when looking for local trails, and we were so surprised! The parking lot was busy for a Sunday morning, but once on the trails we only saw a few people...  more »
  • This is a really nice place to take a hike. Several good overlook areas for some pictures. The area is well kept and there are usually folks there but not overly crowded, from what I've seen.
  • Awesome place to go hiking! I love the hidden rope swing! The rocks are pretty amazing.
  • Great place for a hike and picnic. Take plenty of water.
  • It's a great walk... wonderful trails taking you across the mountain...
  • This park is defintely a hidden gem. Great spot for a nice hike with views of Eno River, rock formations and overlooks. I hiked the Occoneechee Mountain Loop Trail (2.2 miles) and Overlook Trail (.15 miles). The grounds are kept fairly clean, there is no entry fee and the place is not too busy.

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