View Full Version : Birkhead Wilderness in the NC Uwharries

Tennessee Viking
04-10-2010, 19:05
Is anyone an expert on the Birkhead Wilderness in the Uwharrie National Forest? I recently made a visit to Birkhead taking the Tot Hill Farm trailhead. The maps at the trailhead indicated the trail being the Birkhead Trail. It started out white blaze, then after dropping from the initial ridgeline, the trail turned yellow blaze and made some dramatic turns not shown on the map. I ran into a local and he informed me that the trail system in Birkhead is not labeled and drawn correctly. Is that correct?

04-13-2010, 16:44
There is a great book that covers all the trails and campsites as well as the trailheads. It is called Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide by Don Childrey. I have hiked Birkhead several times and have led scout groups through there. It can be a bit tricky from time to time but the book really helps with maps and trip plans.

I read an article in the Charlotte paper a few years back that the Forest Service was going to re-connect the uwharrie trail and the birkhead mountain trail as a 40 mile straight shot south to north. Haven't anything lately.

Tennessee Viking
04-13-2010, 17:05
Are the forest service maps incorrect? I walked in from the Tot Hill Farm trailhead (near the airport & golf course) a couple miles in. It intersected and was taken over by a yellow blazed trail. Then then it went for another mile before turning down into a ravine with a bunch of water crossings.

It was fairly blazed. But the maps showed one straight path for a few miles on ridge top but ended up were running into trails and making major turns where the map didn't list them.

I do have Johnson's Hiking North Carolina book which lists parts of the Uwharrie in it.

Uncle Cranky
04-13-2010, 20:27
Hey from Chapel Hill,
I'm no expert and the last time I was in the Birkhead was over 5 years ago, but I understand your confusion.
Let's just say the Forest Service map, though not actually inaccurate, isn't precise to begin with and actually leaves out the trail that I believe your mentioning. I've consulted my "Gemini" map of the Uwharrie National Forest (copy righted 1997-don't know if there is a more recent one) and its very little insert of the Birkhead wilderness. If you take the the Birkhead trail (blazed white) and head south from the Talbot Branch Trail head on Tot Hill Farm Rd. the map shows an unimproved forest road bearing off the Birkhead trail on the left about 2 miles in. My copy of "The Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide" by Don Childrey on p. 202 shows the "Camp Three Trail". The upper half of this trail seems to be the unimproved road which is on the Gemini map but the map doen't show the Camp Three Trail. The Guide states on p. 201 "Camp Tree Trail is blazed sporadically with various colors of paint. Sometimes there are horizontal green slashes, sometimes there are yellow blazes."
Don't know if this helps you any but the info might explain your confusion. Best solution is pick up the guide before you go.

04-14-2010, 09:35
I agree with Uncle Cranky. According to the book it seems you were on the camp three trail which is not on the forest service map. It is a 2.25 mile side loop that rejoins the Birkhead mountain trail a little over a mile farther south than were you wondered off the Birkhead mountain trail. This area is heavily used by hunters and they have made several of there own side trails throughout the wilderness as well. It can get quite confusing. Get the book it really helps.

Short Term
04-15-2010, 11:20
Glad to know I am not the only one who found that area confusing. I hiked in Uwharrie about 5 or 6 years ago, and suffered the same fate. The blazes and trail just faded away. I need to pick up that guide and try it again. I just remember the trail going straight up the mountain....no switchbacks!

02-25-2011, 17:26
Heading to Birkhead in the morning to meet some hammockforums folks for a hike and overnight on the trail.
Never been there, but I've feeling confused already.
Y'all keep your fingers crossed for me. :)

Tennessee Viking
02-25-2011, 17:51
Definitely look into getting a copy of Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide by Childrey.

That book cleared up a lot of confusion I had for Birkhead from the Tot Hill Farm trailhead. My first visit to Birkhead lead me down the Camp Three trail from the main trail because it was the more obvious trail. Instead, I really needed to barely right instead of staying straight.

PM me if you need some directions

02-27-2011, 10:44
Hiked there several times but prob my least favorite trail system/hikes in the NC area. Mostly due to what was discussed here and the lack of elevation.