Little River is one of the most common river names, and two are in the Neuse Basin. The largest Little River in the upper Neuse Basin joins the Neuse near Goldsboro. The Little River described here begins as the North Fork and South Fork in northern Orange County. The forks flow southeast and join after crossing into Durham County. The Little River Reservoir, a Durham water supply, begins near US 501 at Bahama. Downstream of the reservoir, the Little River joins the Eno River. Upstream of the reservoir, the river runs through a gorge reminiscent of a western North Carolina mountain stream. Steep, rocky bluffs on north-facing slopes display rhododendron and mountain laurel.
The riverbed has a high gradient for a Piedmont river, with rocks and ledges forming many rapids. The beauty and environmental significance of the area has been recognized in the Little River Corridor Open Space Plan, published in 2001 by the Durham City-County Planning Department. Unlike the Eno and Flat Rivers, permanently protected natural areas along the Little River are scarce. The plans include future parks, nature trails, and canoe access areas. This eTrail contains 2 sections of the Little River from South Lowell Road (Durham Co. 1461) bridge over North Fork to US 501 bridge at Little River Reservoir.
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