Historic Occoneechee Speedway and James M. Johnston Nature Preserve
The Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail (HOST) and the James M. Johnston Nature Preserve are under the care of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust and are located beside the Eno River (opposite from the location of the Ayr Mount historic house). HOST is a walking trail through natural and cultural history. The original track was a half-mile horse track built by Julian S. Carr for Occoneechee Farms. It was later expanded and used by NASCAR. This 44-acre site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in May 2002. Four miles of trail take you along the banks of the Eno River where you’ll walk around the only surviving dirt 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. Today this unique outdoor site allows for a diverse range of activities and is enjoyed by individual hikers, joggers and other sports enthusiasts.
In recent years and continuing today, a volunteer group named the Historic Speedway Group (HSG) works tirelessly to help maintain the grounds and preserve the legacy of the Occoneechee-Orange Speedway: a site integral to the histories of NASCAR and Hillsborough. To learn more about HSG, please visit their website at http://www.historicspeedwaygroup.org/.
ENTRANCE TO THE TRAILS FOR HOST AND THE JAMES M. JOHNSTON NATURE PRESERVE IS LOCATED AT:
320 Elizabeth Brady Road
Hillsborough, NC, 27278
Site is open during the following times: *
Jan., Feb., Nov., Dec. 8 am – 5 pm
March and October 8 am – 6 pm
Apr., May., Aug., Sep. 7 am – 7 pm
June and July 7 am – 8 pm
No access after sunset!
Admission to the trails is free.
Car parking is available.
ONLINE AND IN THE NEWS:
The New York Times, “A Relic From Racing’s Early Years, Repurposed” by Robert Peele.
Fifteen501 Magazine, “Ayr Mount’s Legacy Lives On In Hillsborough” by Danielle Jackson.
Historic Speedway Group
Videos about the Speedway