By: Katie Hall, Public Information Officer, North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation
Nestled between Charlotte and the Sandhills of North Carolina, Morrow Mountain State Park was established as North Carolina’s third state park in 1935. Uwharrie National Forest, separated from Morrow Mountain State Park by the Yadkin/Peedee River, was designated a U.S. National Forest by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.
Many people wonder why the Uwharries are so small and are surprised to learn that they are one of the oldest mountain ranges in North America. These ancient mountains have more archaeological sites per acre than any other forest in the Southeast! They are SO old, in fact, that dinosaurs may have roamed there amongst what were once 20,000-foot summits. Erosion, like that which wore the Appalachians down from heights comparable to the Rocky Mountains, also took their toll on the Uwharries, which now top out at 1,100 feet.
Prior to becoming a national forest, the area was used for mining, farming, and timber. Much of Morrow Mountain State Park’s facilities display beautiful stone that was mined from the mountain itself years ago. That adds incredible charm to the park– from the stone walls to the stone on the visitors center and cabins, this natural element ties together different areas of the park and gives it an unmistakable, memorable character.
Morrow Mountain State Park has fantastic amenities. My favorites are the six rustic family vacation cabins offer the opportunity to get away from it all while still enjoying some modern comforts. Deep in a wooded area of the park, each cabin has a bathroom, living room, fireplace, kitchen with dining space and two bedrooms that can accommodate up to six people. If you’re looking to get away from too much technology and the daily grind but camping is a bit too “rustic” for you, these cabins are the perfect compromise. Front porch rockers and traditional wood fireplaces make these cabins a great getaway for all seasons.
An expansive boathouse on Lake Tillery offers state-of-the art canoes and kayaks for rent to paddle and experience the beautiful park from the water. For hikers, several trails wind throughout the park ranging from a half mile to over four miles and from easy to strenuous. This park looks and feels like one of our western parks, but offers a more central location. Morrow Mountain reminds me of Raven Rock State Park in that way.
Morrow Mountain State Park is also a great place for group camping, reunions, gatherings or retreats. In addition to the park’s large pool and pool house, picnic shelters and a community building that can hold up to 110 guests are available to reserve.
If you’re looking for a day of family fun, a quiet, rocky hike, a picnic with a view, or some outdoor exercise right in the Piedmont, Morrow Mountain State Park has everything you could hope for. This is a great option for folks who live in the coastal plain and don’t want to drive all the way to the mountains, or residents of the Piedmont who want a nearby getaway. The leaves are stunning today and in the coming weeks, so it’s the perfect time for a visit.
See you in our Parks!
Katie Hall is the new-ish Public Information Officer for North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation. A life-long North Carolinian, Katie is on a mission to explore all the State Parks she has missed or hasn’t seen in a decade or more. Her background is in environmental science, management and policy, communications and outreach.