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By: CJ Rena Johnson

Uwharrie National Forest and OHV Park

Uwharrie National Forest and OHV Park… a little something for everyone!

Not the cleanest outdoor activity around! But what a way to stay cool!
Not the cleanest outdoor activity around! But what a way to stay cool!

Side-x-Side in Uwharrie Mud
Side -x-Side in Uwharrie Mud

4x4 in Uwharrie Mud
4x4 in Uwharrie Mud

ATV in the Uwharrie Mud
ATV in the Uwharrie Mud

There is primitive camping on Uwharrie OHV trail system.
There is primitive camping on Uwharrie OHV trail system.

Uwharrie National Forest has something to offer everyone. Not only do they have some great and challenging trails for ATVers, dirt bikers and 4x4 enthusiasts, they also offer horseback riding, camping, fishing, boating, hiking, paddling, mountain biking, swimming and picnic areas.

You don’t even have to have your own toys to enjoy all these different activities. ATV, Jet Ski, Canoe and Kayak rentals are available at the nearby Uwharrie Stables. They will even deliver them to the riding/use area for you. You can learn about some of these opportunities by going to www.uwharriestables.com. Always call ahead to confirm availability (910-572-1614). Wine and Kayaking tours are also available in the area. There is something to interest everyone in the family. Some of the picnic areas within the Uwharrie Park system can even be rented by the day for group functions, so bring out all your family and friends for a day of fun and excitement for everyone.

The OHV trails in the Uwharrie National Forest can be a bit challenging to some riders. Always exercise caution, use the buddy system and never ride beyond your ability and experience. Take it slow and easy on any trail with which you are not familiar. Some of the trails are open to several different types of riders and many of them are open to two-way traffic as well, so please be extra cautious when riding on those. You never know when you will go around a curve and meet someone head on or run upon a 4x4 trying to get up an intimidating rock face.

One enthusiast I talked to put it this way “If you’re looking to do some hardcore woods riding, Uwharrie is not the place. Uwharrie is about something totally different. Its where all kinds of off roaders come together and share their love of what we do. Spend some time at the top of Daniel (trail); watching (and) talking to all the interesting people this lifestyle brings to a wooded hillside on a Sunday afternoon. Pull over to the side of the trail and watch Jeep club after Nissan club after 4x4 club cruise by. This is what people spend their nights in the garage working on just to come out and show off their stuff. Not to sound too corny, but Uwharrie is about the rides and the people that build and drive them and the support systems behind them (family and friends). When I go to Uwharrie, it’s the only place I leave the race bikes in the building and just cruise a rancher (with) camera in tow. This place guarantees photo ops.”

Obviously there are diehard fans of this OHV riding area and the only way to know if it is for you is to visit it yourself. So, grab some friends and family and head on out. Everyone can find something enjoyable in the area.

Many historical facts make Uwharrie a great interest spot for all kinds of people. For example, one of the first documented gold discoveries in America was made at the nearby Reed Gold Mine, it was then known as the Reed family farm. The first nugget is believed to have weighed around 17 pounds and was found by John Reed’s son Conrad. They used it as a doorstop in the family home for the next three years until a visiting jeweler discovered its true nature. This sparked one of the first gold rushes in American history. You can learn more about this by visiting nearby Reed Gold Mine.

It is also commonly believed that the Uwharrie Mountains are the oldest mountain ranges in North America. According to scientists, they were formed as volcanic islands over 500 million years ago. They believe, at one time, the peaks reached 20,000 feet. However, due to erosion and other natural factors, the highest peak today is less than 1,000 feet.

Uwharrie National Forest and OHV Park have so much to offer everyone. It is definitely worth the time spent to check out all they have available. One of the many websites available for information about them is www.cs.unca.edu/nfsnc/recreation/uwharrie/.

One of my favorite things about the OHV Park is being able to camp right on the OHV trail system. Primitive camping is permitted along the trails unless posted as a No Camping area. Be sure not to obstruct the trail in any way and always leave the areas better than you found them. Primitive camping is free. There are several campgrounds available in the Uwharrie NF, as well. The campgrounds vary in cost from $8–15.00 depending on amenities which can include any of the following: hand pump water, port-a-potties, tables, grills, running water spigots, flush toilets, showers, laundry facilities, wash sinks, lamp posts, etc. The campgrounds located near the OHV area include: Uwharrie Hunt Camp, Badin Lake campground and Arrowhead Campground. Again, call ahead for availability.

The fees to ride at Uwharrie are minimal at $5.00 per day per OHV or $30 for an annual pass. They cannot be purchased at the trailhead so be sure to plan ahead and visit one of the OHV Trail pass venders.

Three of the venders on Highway 109 are Mullinix store in Uwharrie, Eldorado Outpost in Eldorado, and Jake’s Store in Troy. They are also available at Swift Island BP at the intersection of Highway 24/27 and River Road and at the Uwharrie National Forest District Office during the week located at 789 Highway 24/27 East in Troy N.C. Be sure to call ahead for hours of business and current availability at the vender of your choice. The contact number for the Uwharrie Forest District office is 910-576-6391.

You must display the season passes on the left rear fender of ATVs and dirt bikes and the lower left corner of windshield for 4-wheel drive vehicles. Daily passes must be attached to the handlebars of ATVs and dirt bikes and prominently displayed on all other 4-Wheel drive vehicles.

These are just some of the many reasons to load up your ATV and head on out to Uwharrie for a weekend of fun, thrills and excitement.

Maybe I will see you out there. As always, choose now to have an awesome day!


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