The great thing about the Uwharrie Region is how much it has to offer for so many different people. Whether you like to keep your activity on two feet, prefer to paddle, or something with a little more power, there is plenty to choose from. Thanks to the terrain and waters, people of all skill levels from beginners to pros can find an enjoyable challenge, all in one area.

Land Adventures

Hiking & Running

From short family friendly hikes to multi day backpacking trips, the national forest provides plenty of options. Most trails are excellent for trail running as well as hiking and running clubs often host races here. Some highlights include:

The Uwharrie Trail
its 30-mi. continuous single track footpath is the longest in central North Carolina. Trail head is on NC Highway 24/27 between Albemarle and Troy.

Badin Lake Recreation Area
Kings Mountain Point
Badin Lake Hiking Trail
789 Badin Lake Rd Ra, Troy, NC 27371

Denson’s Creek Trail
789 Bisco Rd., Troy, NC.

Birkhead Mountains Wilderness Area
A dozen miles of hiking trails at the northern end of the Uwharrie Mountains.

Morrow Mountain State Park
More than 20 miles of hiking trails, located in Stanly County just south of Badin Lake.

Troy Nature Trail
A 6 mile greenway along scenic Denson’s Creek with trailheads at Roy J. Maness Nature Preserve & Glen Road.

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Enjoy the beautiful simplicity of primitive backcountry camping, or the luxury of fully hooked up RV glamping in Montgomery County. RV campgrounds & hook ups are available at Badin Lake recreation area. More rustic campgrounds are also available in the national forest. Free tent camping—called dispersed camping—is also permitted in many areas of the National Forest. (Excludes areas marked “No Camping”, day-use sites, trailheads, and wildlife fields.


The Uwharries are one of the eastern seaboard's premier western-style horseback riding destination thanks to its 40 miles of tree-shaded horse trails that wind through the forest and along the river. Canebrake Horse Camp in Badin Lake Recreation Area has restrooms and space for tents, RVs, and horse trailers, and there are many primitive camping areas as well.

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Mountain biking and road cycling

There are 22 miles of designated mountain biking trails ranging from easy to difficult in the Wood Run Area off Highway 24/27 between Troy and Albemarle. There is an additional 40 miles of mixed-use trails in the Badin Lake Recreation Area. For those who enjoy road cycling, Montgomery County offers beautiful and quiet routes, with views of rivers, lakes, and the Uwharrie Mountains.

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From calm and serene waters with no sign of people in sight, to getting airborne on wakeboards, there are multiple options and spots for boaters to choose from. Besides the Pee Dee River, the Uwharries Region hosts three main boating areas: Lake Tillery, Lake Badin, and Falls Reservoir. Collectively they offer anything you’d want out of a day or more on the water.


Kayaking & Canoeing

Falls Reservoir/The Narrows
A quiet & scenic reservoir to explore by canoe or kayak with waterfalls along the western shore. Watch for bald eagles in the other wildlife.

Badin Lake and Lake Tillery
While they have more motorized traffic, you can typically find a secluded spot pretty easily. (Badin Lake is usually less busy than Lake Tillery.)

The Uwharrie River
An option for experienced paddlers, best when the water level isn’t too low or high.

The Little River
Has several launches near Star and Troy and offers a slower pace than the Uwharrie River.


With a multitude of lakes, rivers and reservoirs, there are plenty of places for boating of all kinds. Motor boats, Jetskis, Pontoon Boats, and small Sailboats are plentiful on Badin Lake & Lake Tillery. Each body of water has something to offer and a completely different experience.

Whether you prefer Jeeps, Land Cruisers, Land Rovers, Pickups, ATVs, UTVs, or dirt bikes, the Uwharrie Mountains are paradise for people who love Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV). Varied topography and plenty of rocks & mud create challenges and excitement. Periodic competitions and jamborees bring OHV users together to test their skills and enjoy each other’s company.

If a leisurely ride is more your speed be sure to check out our portion of the NC Scenic Byways. Part of the Sandhills Scenic Drive the Flint Hill Ramble offers a relaxed ride with scenic views and opportunities for nature access.


The Uwharrie Region is a renowned area known for its rare mix of eastern and western NC plantlife, all in one forest. It’s also the farthest east you will find smallmouth bass. As a functional National Forest, which is very different from National and State Parks, the timber is harvested and periodically burned for the health of the forest. There are also designated game lands for hunting & fishing (hunting and gameland privilege licenses required) and even a public shooting range for practice. In addition, there are multiple natural and cultural historical sites in the Uwharries, including Town Creek Indian Mound and a section of petrified forest.

nature & Conservation


You might find crappie, gar, catfish, largemouth, and even smallmouth bass on Badin Lake, Lake Tillery, Tuckertown reservoir, Falls reservoir, or any of the other lakes and rivers in the area. We are also home to several bass, catfish, and crappie tournaments in the fall.


The Uwharries are designated game lands for hunting and fishing, with deer and wild turkey as the most popular target for hunters. (Hunting and Gameland Privilege Licenses required.) Target shooting is also allowed at the Flint Locke Valley Shooting Range.

Bird watching

The mix of forest, lakes, and rivers provides habitat for a wide variety of birds including bald eagles, osprey, wintering waterfowl, northern bobwhites, wild turkeys, woodpeckers, and colorful songbird such as prothonotary warblers, hooded warblers, summer tanagers, scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, blue grosbeaks, and many more.


Because of the low light pollution and wide open spaces, the area is also celebrated for its crystal clear star gazing.