Hiking & Trail Running

Experience the Uwharries on Foot

One of the best things about the Uwharries is the terrain. While they are mountains, the elevation changes are not too severe, and offer a chance for people of all abilities to find the right trail for them. From short family-friendly hikes and paved paths to multi-day backpacking trips with primitive camping, the national forest provides a range of options. Most trails are excellent for trail running as well as hiking, and running clubs and mountain biking groups often host races here.

Badin Lake Recreation Area Trails (map here):

  • Greg's Loop- 1.5 miles- Easy- Green
  • Blackburn- 2.2 miles- Easy- Green
  • Josh- 2 miles- Easy- Green
  • Lake Trail- 1.1 miles- Easy- Green
  • Leslie- 1.2 miles- Moderate- Dark Green
  • Big Rock Loop- 1.2 miles- Moderate- Dark Green
  • Tony- 1.8 miles- Moderate- Dark Green
  • Todd- 2.1 miles- Moderate- Dark Green
  • Indian- 1.1 miles- Easy- Magenta
  • Megan- 1.7 miles- Easy- Magenta
  • Home- 2.5 miles- Easy- Magenta
  • Larry- 1.5 miles- Easy- Magenta
  • Helen's Loop- 2.2 miles- Easy- Magenta
  • River- 3.6 miles- Moderate- Salmon
  • Wren- 0.3 miles- Easy- Salmon
  • Tanager- 0.7 miles- Easy- Salmon
  • Rudolph- 0.3 miles- Easy- Salmon
  • Burl Tree Way- 1.7 miles- Easy- Salmon
  • Morgan- 1.7 miles- Easy- Salmon
  • Hang Glider- 1.4 miles- Difficult- Salmon
  • Buttermilk- 1 mile- Moderate- Salmon
  • Berner- 0.6 mile- Easy- Yellow
  • Fraley- 2.5 miles- Difficult- Yellow
  • Bates- 1.7 miles- Moderate- Yellow
  • Robbins- 1.7 miles- Easy- Yellow

Additional Hiking Options to Explore

Uwharrie Trail 20.5 miles (Moderate) From the Wood Run Trailhead on NC 24/27 to the Jumping Off Rock Trailhead on Flint Hill Road. A trailhead is located at the 8/12 mile mark on NC109.

Dutchman's Creek Trail 9.5 miles (Moderate) Marked with yellow blazes, starts at Wood Run as well. Dutchman’s is a single track that ends 9.5 miles north at Yates Camp, a hunt camp that is open year-round. This trail was designed as a loop system with the southern portion of the Uwharrie Trail.

Denson’s Creek Trail 2.2 miles (Easy to Moderate) This nature hike begins behind the Uwharrie National Forest office on NC 24/27, 2 miles east of Troy. This trail has two loops: a short loop of 0.75 miles and a longer loop of 2.2 miles. It connects, near Denson’s Creek, to the Town of Troy Trail.

Badin Lake Hiking Trail 5.6 miles (Easy) This lakeside trail is a 5.6-mile loop trail following the lake’s shoreline for more than half its distance, then looping back through hardwood forest to Cove Boat Ramp. The trail connects Cove Boat Ramp, Arrowhead Campground, Badin Lake Campground, King’s Mountain Point and a connector trail connects Badin Group Camp. A short loop of the trail circles Arrowhead Campground.

Birkhead Mountain Wilderness occupies 5,160 acres in the northern most lands of the Uwharrie National Forest and has a system of hiking trails. Robbins Branch Trailhead and Thornburg Trailhead both have parking. Talbots Branch Trailhead at the northern end of Birkhead Mountain Trail on Tott’s Farm Road does not have parking. Most often, the following trails are hiked in various loops out from the Thornburg and Robbins Branch Trailheads.

Birkhead Mountain Trail 11.6 miles (Moderate). Birkhead Mountain Trail is a 11.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail that features a river, as well as a number of activity options. It is accessible year-round. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on leash.

Hannah’s Creek Trail 1.4 miles (Easy) Hannah's Creek Trail is short and relatively easy trail located in the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness Area. Parking is available at the Robbins Branch Road Trailhead, Thornburg Trailhead and Tot Hill Farm Trailhead.

Robbins Branch Trail 3.2 miles (Moderate)
From Troy, take NC109 north to the village of Uwharrie and turn right on Ophir Road (SR 1134). Ophir Road becomes Burney Mill Road as you cross into Randolph County. Continue on to the intersection of Lassiter Mill Road and turn right. Proceed north on Lassiter Mill to first the Robbins Branch Trailhead and then the Thornburg Trailhead.

Town of Troy Trail 4.75 miles (Easy)
From the Roy Maness Nature Preserve to the Little River near NC 24/27, this 5-mile Trail follows Denson’s Creek and is especially beautiful when the Mountain Laurel are in bloom in late spring. A new parking lot has recently opened on Glen Road near the intersection with NC 24/27. Limited roadside parking provides access to the trail at the bridge on Okeewemee Road.