Uwharrie National Forest
Covering more than 50,000 acres, the Uwharrie National Forest south of Asheboro preserves everything that makes nature in the NC Triad unique. Birders can come during fall and spring migration and see everything from hooded warblers to native wild turkeys. Hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers have year-round access to trails that wind past pristine stands of oak and Eastern pine, alongside the Yadkin and Pee Dee Rivers, and up into the Uwharrie mountain range that gives this national forest its name.
Day-trippers can picnic and dip their toes into Badin Lake, and campers can stay for weeks on end exploring all the fishing, hunting, swimming, kayaking, boating, and four-wheeling the national forest offers. Regardless of how you prefer to experience the outdoors, Uwharrie’s abundance and amenities make it a destination that offers endless opportunities to enjoy nature in the NC Triad.
Eastward and Upward
Uwharrie National Forest combines mountain peaks, lakefront views, and dense upland forests. Those who want to explore the upland regions of Uwharrie would do well to consider the trails and hunting grounds further inland and upland from Badin Lake. Dozens of hiking trails are available for visitors on foot, horseback, and motorized vehicle, with designated areas for climbers and boulderers to practice their craft.
Numerous area outfitters can provide you with guided tours on horseback, climbing equipment and instruction, and off-road vehicle rentals. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission offers seasonal hunting and trapping licenses. The Flintlock Valley Shooting Range is open Tuesdays through Saturdays year-round to welcome pistol and rifle enthusiasts.
Inside Uwharrie is another park called the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness Area. Encompassing 5,000 acres, Birkhead is a secluded spot for hikers and primitive campers looking to escape into one of the forest’s oldest and most untouched corners.
On & Near the Water
There are plenty of ways to enjoy Uwharrie’s natural bodies of water.
Some of the best fishing in the Triad is in Uwharrie, where you may spot stripers, largemouth bass, and crappie from a boat or pier. Boaters can take advantage of multiple ramps and launch sites on the lake or rent from the marina, and swimmers can spend all day at the Badin Lake Recreation Area.
There are several campsites near the lake, from those at Arrowhead designed for RV camping to more primitive sites at Badin Lake Campground that welcome tent campers, to the Canebrake Horse Camp, which offers modern amenities for humans and horses alike. All the campsites are open year-round (barring inclement weather), and sites with electrical hook-ups and shower facilities take reservations.