Uwharrie Weekend!

Badin Lake Recreation Area in Uwharrie National Forest is located in North Carolina about 6 hours from Washington DC.  For off-highway vehicles there are 17 miles to explore spread over 9 trails that offer various difficulties.  All the vehicles attending were required to be built up to handle the anticipated challenge of this trip. 


  • Ben & kids – 2021 Toyota 4Runner
  • Brian S. – Jeep Wrangler TJ
  • Ken K. – Jeep Wrangler TJ
  • Kris K. – Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon (2 Door)
  • Jeff K. – 2022 Land Rover Defender
  • Rich G. – Jeep Wrangler LJ
  • Kristopher M. – Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon Xtreme Recon (4 Door)
  • Steve S. – 2018 Nissan Frontier Pro 4X

We traveled down to North Carolina on Thursday and set up camp at Badin Lake Group Campground.  The group campground offers a unique opportunity for both tent campers and RVs (without hookups).  There are showers and flush toilets available as well.

On Friday we met at Eldarado Outpost to purchase our OHV permits and hold our drivers meeting.

A group of vehicles parked in a parking lot

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From there we headed out to Falls Dam (Trail 96) starting at Flat Woods Trail Head.  This was generally an easy dirt trail with several challenging optional obstacles.  Ben attempted one of these in his 4Runner but slid off his line due to the wet trail conditions and required winching to get up.  With better line choices all the Jeeps made it up with varying degrees of effort depending on the line chosen.  From there we headed down a forest road that offers a lot of primitive camping to a scenic spot right on the river for lunch.

A group of people on a beach

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After lunch we went to check out Lakeview Trail which is a new trail that opened in March of 2023.  This too was generally an easy dirt trail with several challenging obstacles.  We started at the north end of the trail and finish at Art Lilley Campground.  We couldn’t find any views of the lake on the trail!  For the last trails of the day we started at Wolfs Den Trail Head and drove Slab Pile (Trail 79) to Saw Mill (Trail 93) to Rocky Mount (Trail 92).  This was a more challenging trail with some obstacles that could not be bypassed.  With some spotting everyone made it through without issue.

Saturday, we started from the group campground to get on the trails early.  The goal for the day was to conquer Dutch John (Trail 90) which we think is the second hardest trail at Uwharrie.  We started from Wolf Den (Trail 89) and finished at Slab Pile (Trail 79).  In general, the trail was rockier than what we had done the day before but not challenging for a built rig.  There were obstacles that required spotting to get the vehicles through.  This trail was very pretty and a fun challenge!  After this trail the traffic on the trails was noticeably heavier so we decided to wrap up for the day.

A collage of four different jeeps

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A four pictures of a white car in the woods

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All had a great time and look forward to being able to return at some point in the future!

One member of our group had been on the trails in November of 2021 and noticed that the bypasses were easier this time.  The trails open the beginning of April so it is likely that they get harder through the open season. The GPX track below is for the Lake View trail portion of the trip only.



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Lakeview Trail 


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Photo Album: 06/07/24 Potts

Trail Report written by Ben Dunkerton. Pictures contributed by Ben Dunkerton, Ken Kyler, Kris Kyler, Brian Souhan, and Rich Goldberg. GPS track provided by Ben Dunkerton.

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