Orange County High Point Trip Report

Occoneechee Mtn (860+ ft)

Date: October 5, 1996
Author: Fred Lobdell

The direct road to the summit of Occoneechee Mountain was gated and posted, with "No Parking" signs on the road before the gate, when I was there 6 years ago. However, the mountain was supposed to have been taken over by the town of Hillsborough and made a part of a town park, so the situation may be entirely changed from what is reported here.

From Exit 164 on I-85, go north on South Church Street about 0.2 mile to the first traffic light. Turn left (northwest) and go 0.3 mile to a "T" intersection; turn left (southwest) on Orange Grove Road. Turn right (northwest) after another 0.1 mile onto Virginia Cates Road. This will bring you, in less than a half mile, to a bridge over the Eno River, but you'll want to park before you get to the river. There is room for a couple of dozen cars to pull completely off the road southeast of the guard rails above the river.

There are a number of trails and access points in the area. The route described here is both a relatively gentle ascent and easy to follow. Walk uphill along the road until you come to some wooden steps ascending the slope on your right. Go up these and ascend, following the trail uphill to where it overlooks a quarry. From here turn sharply left and continue to ascend, following another trail until it emerges onto a gravel road. The trails are somewhat indistinct here, but if you keep going generally uphill you can't go too far wrong. Remember to take note of the point at which you emerged onto the road, for your return journey. Turn right on the road and follow it uphill to the summit. The summit is marked by a lookout tower and a relay tower. The highest ground appears to be inside the chain link fence surrounding the lookout tower. As of 1996 there were a couple of breaks in the fence that one could squeeze through to get to the highest point, if one weren't too overweight.

Return the same way.