High scenic views and mountain trails await you at Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area. This Piedmont monadnock has been recognized as one of the most important natural areas in the Triangle. A monadnock is "a single remnant of a former highland, which rises as an isolated rock mass above a plain." Occoneechee Mountain is the highest point in Orange County at 867 feet, and the oak forest, pond, field, heath bluff, and river habitats found on the mountain support species that are rare and significant in this region. With 190 acres of land and nearly three miles of trails, visitors can experience a wide variety of the area's natural surroundings and wildlife. We will hike portions of the Overlook trail, Brown Elfin Knob trail and Loop trail for a total distance of about 3 miles. Part of the route runs by an abandoned pyrophyllite quarry that offers a nice view from the top. Here's a link to a trail map: http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/ocmo/main.php Portions of the trail are steep. Hiking boots or sturdy shoes are highly recommended. Please bring plenty of water. To reach Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area from I-85, take exit 164. Turn right traveling north on Churton Street, and turn left at the next traffic light onto Mayo Street. At the next stop sign, turn left onto Orange Grove Road. Turn at the second right on to Virginia Cates Road, and follow the signs to the parking area. Link to area map: http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/ocmo/directions.php This hike generally takes around 1 - 1.5 hours. We will meet in the area between the bathrooms and the picnic tables.
There is also an option for hiking the nearby Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail in Hillsborough after a lunch break (bring a snack or small lunch). This hike should take about 1 hour. The Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail, a walking trail through natural and cultural history, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. We'll walk around some trails & the only surviving speedway from NASCAR’s inaugural 1949 season. The 1-mile oval Occoneechee / Orange Speedway was active from 1948-68, attracting the best stock car drivers and thousands of spectators."
A contact number will be sent to members who RSVP.