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Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough

(70+ reviews on the web)
Wildlife Area Nature / Park
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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  • Wow what a surprise to find this park right next to the Interstate, we hiked up to the overlook and wondered how this beautiful view was hidden from so much traffic. It was a nice hike on a sunny day.  more »
  • We made it!!!! A Beautiful walk along the Eno River. The trail is just over 2 miles, but has lots of twists and turns, beautiful scenery, lots of different trees, ferns and even some wild flowers. The...  more »
  • Liked this park a lot! It's not overwhelmingly big so great for walks and for trail runs. A trail loop around the park is only 2.2miles with smaller 1mile loops. So runners can either choose to run by...  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.
  • It's a great walk... wonderful trails taking you across the mountain...
  • Great place for a hike and picnic. Take plenty of water.
  • 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.