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Uwharrie National Forest
The Uwharrie National Forest was first purchased by the federal government in 1931 during the Great Depression. The land was known as the Uwharrie Reservation.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed these federal lands in Montgomery, Randolph, and Davidson Counties the Uwharrie National Forest. It is one of the most recently formed in the National Forest System.

Rich in history, the Forest is named for the Uwharrie Mountains, some of the oldest in North America. According to geologists, the Uwharries were created from an ancient chain of volcanoes. The 1,000-foot hills of today were once 20,000-foot peaks.

Boasting 50,189 breathtaking acres, the Uwharrie provides a variety of natural resources, including clean rivers and streams, diverse vegetation for scenery, wildlife habitat and wood products. There are also a wide variety of recreational activities including camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and hunting. The area is rich game land for deer and wild turkey, and a home for bald eagles. The Forest is a natural setting for tourism and economic development.

Whether you are a camping enthusiast or weekend novice, The Uwharrie National Forest is an excellent place to enjoy camping in its finest form. Often called a camper’s wonderland, the National Forest has eight magnificent Camping Opportunities.

Most Campsites are equipped with a table, grill, lamppost, and tent pad. There are water spigots for drinking water, flush toilets and showers. Pay stations are located at each camp.

Primitive dispersed camping is allowed throughout the Forest as well as opportunities for hiking, boating, fishing, swimming, hunting, OHV trail use and picnicking.

Life throws lots of distractions at us every day. Whether you are looking for a weekend filled with activities or the quiet relaxation of a secluded campground, the adventure begins here.

Take a walk in the Uwharrie and get closer to nature. The Uwharrie National Forest offers six trails with a variety of scenery, streams and rocky climbs. Trails are available for day hikers or overnight trekkers.

The winding trails are designed to be hiked in either long or short sections, and hikers can enjoy the gentlest slopes with easy access to advanced athletic challenge. There are plenty of streams in the forest and the trails are well marked leading through various landscapes including a mature forest of mixed pine and hardwoods. Mountain laurel bushes line the way, and their pink and white blossoms add a touch of color to the trail during springtime. Tapering ferns cover the moist soil beside the streams and running cedar carpets the drier sections.

You never know what you might find while out exploring. You may turn a corner to find an ancient gold mine or a mountaintop with beautiful views of the surrounding area. Curious explorers could find evidence of early Indians and settlers.

Wildlife is abundant in the Uwharries. Be sure to have a camera along because you never know when you might encounter a herd of deer or a bald eagle. Whatever the day brings, all trails are guaranteed to give you an exciting hiking experience, so strap on your hiking shoes, grab some water, and head out to stretch your legs.

Horseback Riding
There are many miles of horse trails in the National Forest as well as 2 large horse camps and several smaller camps to choose from. Canebrake Horse camp is the newest campground in the Uwharrie National Forest. Located in the Badin Lake area, there are 32 miles of horse trails and a full range of amenities for horse campers. The camps main attraction is the area’s 25 riding trails, which are easily accessible. The single-track trails meander through about 4,000 acres of oak-hickory and oak-pine forests. Climbing hills and crossing streams, trail riders can hear a variety of songbird tunes and watch deer bound and wild turkey scurry through the woods. Enormous boulders, some as large as 15′ tall, can also be seen. The 3-mile River Trail, rated “more difficult”, traces the Uwharrie River. Rated as “easy”, the 1.3-mile Robbins Trail crosses the backbone of a scenic ridge of the Uwharrie Mountains and accesses the Deepwater Trail area. Mountain laurel bushes line the way, and their pink and white blossoms add a touch of color to the trail during springtime. Tapering ferns cover the moist soil beside the streams and running cedar carpets the drier sections. Early morning riders may spot deer or other wildlife and the bountiful botanical life provides a colorful view.
If you love bicycling in any fashion, you will enjoy the beautiful scenery and intertwining trails of the Uwharrie National Forest. There are a large number of biking trails in the forest varying in difficulty. There is something for every level of rider from casual gravel road riding on Wood Run Rd to the steep and technical single track riding on Keyauwee trail. These tours cycle through some of the most beautiful and scenic areas in North Carolina. Riders enjoy a heartland of nature with luscious plants and fascinating wildlife.
Bird Watching and Nature Studies
The diversity of habitats and management programs supports a broad range of wildlife species, including over 168 birds, 49 amphibians and reptiles, 28 mammals and 20 fish species. Key birds are: Summer: Chuck-will’s-widow; Whip-poor-will; Hooded, and Kentucky Warbler; Grasshopper Sparrow; Indigo Bunting; Blue Grosbeak. Winter: Snow Goose; Sedge Wren; Sparrows. Year-round: Bald Eagle; Brown-headed Nuthatch; Redheaded Woodpecker.
Off Road Vehicle Trails
The OHV trails in the Uwharrie National Forest are a lot of fun! The off-highway vehicle trail system in the Uwharrie offers a variety of topography and scenery. There are eight trails with over sixteen miles of off road experiences awaiting riders.
Canoeing and Kayaking
There are many opportunities in the Uwharrie area for canoeing and kayaking. You can spend a day floating the unspoiled Uwharrie River and the Little River or exploring the bigger water of the Pee Dee River in the eastern part of the county. Experienced paddlers know that heavy rains can change these rivers from a gentle beginner’s streams to swift-water hazards. If you prefer lake paddling, Badin Lake offers easy access, great fishing and bird watching. Falls Reservoir is also a great spot for paddle boaters since it has very low motorboat traffic. Whatever the choice, paddlers will enjoy some of the most scenic waters in the area. Want to turn that day trip into a weekend excursion? Boat camping can be found on the Uwharrie River, Badin Lake and Falls reservoir on the National Forest land that borders the water.