The North Carolina Visitor Center




Uwharrie National Forest

The Uwharrie National Forest was first purchased by the federal government in 1931 during the Great Depression. The land was known as the Uwharrie Reservation.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed these federal lands in Montgomery, Randolph, and Davidson Counties the Uwharrie National Forest. It is one of the most recently formed in the National Forest System.

Though small, at only 50,189 acres, the Uwharrie  provides a variety of natural resources, including clean rivers and streams, diverse vegetation for scenery, wildlife habitat and wood products. There is also a  wide variety of recreational activities, and the Forest is a  natural setting for tourism and economic development.


The Uwharrie National Forest is rich in history. It is named for the Uwharrie Mountains, some of the oldest in North America. According to geologists, the Uwharries were created from an ancient chain of volcanoes. The 1,000-foot hills of today were once 20,000-foot peaks.

The Uwharrie is located at the crossroads of both prehistoric and historic settlements. Their legacy is one of the greatest concentrations of archeological sites in the Southeast. Left undisturbed, these sites and artifacts give a record of our heritage.

The first large gold discovery in the  United States occurred around 1799 at the nearby Reed Gold Mine.  In the early 1800's gold was found in the Uwharries, with a later boom during the depression of the 1930's. Old mining sites still remain, and part-time prospectors still pan in the streams and find traces of gold dust.


The Uwharrie is dynamic and responsive to public needs. It continues to provide timber, wildlife, water, recreation opportunities, and a natural setting for tourism and economic development.  The Forest is located within a 2-hour drive from the largest population centers in the State. Recreational use is growing, especially in the Badin Lake area and along the 20-mile, Uwharrie National Recreation Trail.

Badin Lake is one of the largest bodies of water included in the series of reservoirs within the Yadkin- PeeDee River drainage system. The entire watershed is known as the Uwharrie Lakes Region.

Badin Lake is a popular setting for many different  recreation activities, including camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and hunting. The area is rich game land for deer and wild turkey, and a home for bald eagles.  Visitors to the Forest can also enjoy other Piedmont attractions, including Town Creek Indian Mound, North Carolina Zoological Park, Reeds Gold Mine, and pottery shopping in the Seagrove area.


For more information please contact:

Uwharrie Ranger District
789 NC hwy. 24/27 East
Troy, NC 27371-9332

(910) 576-6391