Editor's Note: Sean Higgins, the interpretation and education manager for North Carolina State Parks and a father of a six-year-old and twin 18-month-olds, shares a favorite hike for families in the Triangle.
I think Eno River State Park in Durham is easily among the nation’s best for family-friendly exploring.
The Fews Ford section has several Triangle childhood rites of passage: Splashing and catching crayfish in the ankle deep Fews Ford, overcoming a fear of heights traversing the famous swinging bridge, and letting imaginations run wild in the wilderness cabin (just across the swinging bridge). With 30 miles of trails leading to cascades, footbridges and old home sites, a lifetime of discoveries await along the Eno.
Hiking to Bobbitt Hole at the Cole Mill Access is a family favorite of ours. Start on the Cole Mill trail at the end of the parking area which leads down to the river. Head upstream on the Cole Mill trail and continue onto the Bobbitt Hole trail.
Most of this 1.5-mile one-way trek keeps you on a small bluff overlooking the river, which is perfect for viewing turtles and fish by the hundreds. It’s just rocky and muddy enough to be a confidence-building challenge for those 5 years and up. The trail ends at Bobbitt Hole, a good place to splash some water on yourself for the return hike.
A loop trail takes you into the forest uplands, but we tend to go back the same way along to river in hopes of spotting a river otter or longnose gar.
Go Ask Mom features places to take kids every Friday. For more, check our posts on parks and playgrounds and Triangle family destinations. Sean also featured a family-friendly trail at Umstead State Park.