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Tennessee Viking
01-07-2009, 02:37
I have lived almost all my life in East Tennessee living around the Cherokee Forest. Then had some adventures in the Nantahala and Pisgah Forests. But I see North Carolina has two more national forest systems, Uwharrie and Croatan Forests, and I was wondering what they are like.

I been looking at the North Carolina's Forest website, and it lists a couple ~20 mile trails. And I see the MST runs through the Croatan. Any good sights and camping opportunities on those trails?

And I see that the Uwharrie has a small wilderness area. Is it another good hiking area?

mtnkngxt
01-07-2009, 03:11
Uwharrie is huge with the 4x4 crowd great rock gardens

chelko
01-07-2009, 08:55
Uwharrie is a wonderful place. Great trails and good camp sites. The uwharrie trail is a 20 mile one way hike but the lower section can be combined with the dutchman's creek trail for a 20+ mile figure 8 loop. Birkhead mountain Wilderness has its own trail system that is rich in history and makes some great weekend loops. These are great places to take newbies or kids because the highest peak is Mt. Dennis at 900ft. so there are no long climbs. Be careful because this area is also popular with hunters.

Bearpaw
01-07-2009, 10:09
The Neusiok Trail in the Croatan National Forest offers some very neat walking through salt laden estuary, deciduous forest, pocosin (elevated swamp), pine forest, and fresh water river, all over the course of 20 nearly pancake flat miles. It offers a shelter near the mid point and another mid-way up the northern half.

When I first hiked it in 1995, it was in rough shape, but since it became a part of the MST, it has received much better maintenance as well as the two shelters.

I filed an old trip report on a 2004 trip (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=41341) to give folks a bit more of a feel for it.

NCYankee
01-07-2009, 10:35
A lot of reports that I had read on the Uwharrie talked about what a great area it was to hike in so we went and did an overnight there… I didn’t enjoy it. There are a ton of campsites throughout the trail but there isn’t a lot of diversity in the scenery and it was just a boring hike. We put in a good 8+ hour day and it was just repetitive and dull. It wasn’t that physically demanding, a couple of climbs that made your quads burn, but nothing too intense. Its highly unlikely that I’ll go back but there is no way that my wife would go back.

If you haven’t been yet then check out Panthertown Valley near Cashiers, NC. You get some balds, incredible waterfalls, and a lot of diversity in the scenery. If you go there just be sure to get a map…

My trip report on the Uwharrie (http://maritaladventures.blogspot.com/2008/10/uwharrie-national-forest.html) (long and rambles)
My trip report on Panthertown Valley (http://maritaladventures.blogspot.com/2008/10/panthertown-valley-national-park.html)(long and rambles)

Swofford11
03-26-2010, 12:46
Dutchman Creek trail is much better than Uwharrie Trail....

Uwharrie trail sticks to the valleys and you don't really get any good views.

Dutchman Creek goes up and over every single mountain that it can. Dutchman Creek is only about 16 miles but it has some steep climbing. Its a descent weekend hike.

Uhwarrie is just a good place to introduce people to backpacking.

Tennessee Viking
03-26-2010, 15:22
Dutchman Creek trail is much better than Uwharrie Trail....

Uwharrie trail sticks to the valleys and you don't really get any good views.

Dutchman Creek goes up and over every single mountain that it can. Dutchman Creek is only about 16 miles but it has some steep climbing. Its a descent weekend hike.

Uhwarrie is just a good place to introduce people to backpacking.I walked the couple miles from Ophir Road to the campsite about 2.5-3 miles in a small ravine. It was a hot muggy day. And I knew I was the first hiker on the trail in a while because I kept on getting hit by spider webs across the trail every 5 feet.

I might tour Birkhead in the near future. What is the best trailhead and trail to visit?

Swofford11
03-30-2010, 23:26
Hit up Dutchman's Creek.....its a great trail..Its right off of 24/27 between Troy and Abermarle. The trailhead is very very very busy on any weekend of the year. Day hikers, backpackers, and mountain bikers use the trial head at all times of the year.

Only 16 miles but it has some steep up hills. You can make it a lot longer if you know the area. It will remind you of the App trail without the switch backs (thats the only tough part). Camp on top of some of the "hills" and you'll have some decent views. Its a great weekend hike. The best time to visit is in the fall or winter. The water can get low in parts during the summer. However, if you plan your water stops you really shouldn't have any problems finding water. There are at least 4 major water sources on the Uwharri that never run dry and at least 3 on Dutchman's creek.

The Uhwarrie trail is nothing special. I live in the area and feel it is kind of boring. If you had to pick between the two pick Dutchman's Creek.

There is also a nice 6 mile loop down around Badin Lake. You can camp and fish right on the lake. If you want a lazy weekend this is the hike. Its beautiful and having a camp and fire on the lake is awesome. If you have a Kayak you can camp out on the islands in the middle of the lake. They are all part of the national forest.

The trail head for Dutchman's Creek is also the start of some great mountain bike trails if that is your thing. A good 2 hour ride if you want it.

Its not a bad National forest but don't go in there thinking it is anything like Smokies or other forests surrounding it. Its a nice get away if you are in the area and can't make it to the mountains.

Swofford11
03-30-2010, 23:42
A lot of reports that I had read on the Uwharrie talked about what a great area it was to hike in so we went and did an overnight thereÖ I didnít enjoy it. There are a ton of campsites throughout the trail but there isnít a lot of diversity in the scenery and it was just a boring hike. We put in a good 8+ hour day and it was just repetitive and dull. It wasnít that physically demanding, a couple of climbs that made your quads burn, but nothing too intense. Its highly unlikely that Iíll go back but there is no way that my wife would go back.

If you havenít been yet then check out Panthertown Valley near Cashiers, NC. You get some balds, incredible waterfalls, and a lot of diversity in the scenery. If you go there just be sure to get a mapÖ

My trip report on the Uwharrie (http://maritaladventures.blogspot.com/2008/10/uwharrie-national-forest.html) (long and rambles)
My trip report on Panthertown Valley (http://maritaladventures.blogspot.com/2008/10/panthertown-valley-national-park.html)(long and rambles)


Not saying the Uwharrie trail or dutchman creek is anything special compared to the Smokies or Pisgah...but it sounds like you hiked the most boring part of the Uwharrie...

The first 4-8 miles (depending on which direction you go) is the most boring part of hte Uwharries....If you stick to the dutchman creek trail and do the whole thing there is a lot of diversity....big swimming holes as well as "hill top" views.

Give the dutchman creek trail a try...its actually pretty nice.

Tennessee Viking
03-31-2010, 08:31
I certainly loved the initial climb up Dark Mountain and along the ridgeline from Ophir Road. That thing was brutal for a short climb.

Anything special in Birkhead?