Friday, July 2, 2010

Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail (HOST)

I can guarantee you there will be a spelling mistake in this post with a name like 'Occoneechee' to type. This is the name of the Indians who lived in this part of Hillsborough in the 1600s and 1700s. Turns out that their land made for a great NASCAR speedway. And in 1948 Hillsborough, NC became the home of one of the first NASCAR tracks in the nation.

I am not a NASCAR fan, but this place is neat. This isn't going to be an all-day outing since it isn't a huge place, but it is fun history. The track ceased being actively used by NASCAR in just 1968, so not too long ago. It was set aside as a preserved historic site shortly thereafter with trails groomed for the public in 2003. You can walk the old track, and that isn't even the best part. Afterall, the track is just a 1 mile flat circle. But the thing that is great about this easy little walk is that the old spectator stands, flag stand, buildings, and walls are all still intact. Of course, 3 decades of growth and nature have had their say now, but you can still see where the action was.

The buildings look like they have been renovated and given some TLC, but from what I understand the buildings themselves are original.

The walk is very easy. The track itself is a 1 mile loop, and there are trails that branch off in the .26 - .6 mile distance. In all, there are just over 3 miles of trail available to walk. There are lots of places to sit (the same organization that oversees Poet's Walk take care of this place, too). The Eno River runs by, and I read that in its racing heydey, many cars ended up in the Eno after taking a turn too fast. The trails are well marked. There are also signs around to explain what you are seeing.

As far as strollers, I took the jogging stroller and it was easy. I daresay that, depending on the quality of yours, umbrella strollers might even work. It is flat. Of course it is, it was a speedway for stock cars. And the ground cover is hard, compacted sand. No roots here.

C and I had a good time here. We live right down the street though so it made a good, quick outing for us. If you live further away it might be worth pairing with a stop at the Triangle Sportsplex and/or Matthew's Chocolates.

The Speedway hosts an annual festival called "Celebration of the Automobile" each year around end of August / early September.

Occoneechee Speedway is free and open to the public during daylight hours, basically 8 am til dusk.

Parking is free and there is a gravel lot.

Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail (HOST)

320 Elizabeth Brady Road

Hillsborough, NC


At July 2, 2010 at 10:49 AM , Blogger McGurkus said...

I am glad you posted about this, I had wondered about it, but have never been. May check it out now!

At July 2, 2010 at 1:33 PM , Blogger Allison said...

I am so glad you found it useful. Since it was right down the street from where we are living for the summer, I decided to give it a go. Worth checking out. Like I mentioned, not a full day's worth of activities here, but still a neat, easy walk. I had many more cool pictures than I could post from the outing. Enjoy!


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