A Beginner’s Guide to the Uwharrie

Welcome back, reader! Today, I will be giving you a brief introduction to the Uwharrie mountains, the things that everyone needs to know, the more widely known history of the area. Throughout the course of these blog posts, I will delve deeper into some of these aspects mentioned below, but today is simply an overview of some of the most important things you need to know about the Uwharrie Mountains, both as they were, and as they are today.

Panoramic view from the peak of Morrow Mountain State Park. Sky is a dusty pink color.

Basic History

Formed along the Gondwanan tectonic plate abour 500 million years ago, the Uwharrie Mountains are one of the oldest mountain ranges in North America. These mountains once rose to about 20,ooo feet, but because of the same erosive forces that have shrunk the Appalachian Mountains over time, the highest peak in the Uwharrie Mountain Range, Morrow Mountain, rises only to just over 1,000 feet.

The Uwharrie area is also home to a wide variety of plant species, thanks to their location that borders the piedmont and mountain regions of NC.

Additionally, this area is home to numerous archaeological sites, due to the age of the area and the centralized location. There have been many Native American artifacts found in the area, and is home to a notable amount of arrowhead findings.

Prior to it’s incorporation as a National Park, the area was used for hunting, timber, gold mining, and other fruitful, but potentially harmful activities.

Incorporation

The Uwharrie Mountain Area was officially incorporated into the national parks system on January 12, 1961 by president John F. Kennedy. Morrow Mountain, the highest peak in the park, was made into a state park in 1931. The National Park area stretches into four counties in central North Carolina, but is mostly located within Montgomery County. Out of the four National Forests in North Carolina, it is the smallest at just over 50,000 acres of land.

Some of the notable areas in the Uwharrie National Forest are Badin Lake Recreational Area, Uwharrie Mountain Recreational Trail, Morrow Mountain State Park, and the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness area.

Now, as it stands as a National Park, many use the area for recreational hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, and other general outdoors activities. The Uwharrie Mountains are a great place for beginner hikers, and families looking for an outdoor weekend trip that isn’t too far from home.

Future Endeavors

Moving forward we will be taking a deep dive together into the history (known and not so well known) of this rich area of North Carolina. Being such an old and beautiful area of land, the Uwharrie Mountains have so much to offer us as explorers, adventurers, writers, amateur historians. I will be taking my own photos and experiences to the forefront at times as well, and am hoping that this will not only improve and deepen my connection with this area, but the aim and significance of this project as well. Until next time!

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