Botanizing & Hiking at Morrow Mountain State Park in Albemarle, NC
Saturday, April 15, 2023
About Morrow Mountain State Park
At 936 feet, Morrow Mountain is the highest peak in the park and one of the highest peaks in the Uwharrie Mountains. The state park is located in south-central Piedmont near the town of Albemarle in Stanly County. A recent addition of 215 acres from the Three Rivers Land Trust (TRLT) brings the park’s total acreage to over 6,000 acres. The NCNPS made a small but meaningful grant to the TRLT through our Alice Zawadzki Land Conservation Fund to support this addition to the park.
For more park information, please visit here.
Significant Natural Heritage Area
Morrow Mountain Significant Natural Heritage Area ranks high due to a combination of features, such as Bald Eagle nesting and foraging habitat, high-quality examples of rare communities, and 9 NC rare plant species. Click to read about “Significant Natural Heritage Areas of Stanly County, NC” by Bruce Sorrie.
Plant Info at Morrow Mountain State Park
Click to download and view the Vascular Plant Checklist for Morrow Mountain State Park.
Upland forests are mostly dry oak–hickory, usually with a pine component. North-facing slopes and ravines are usually clothed with dense thickets of Mountain Laurel.
Most summits support a Piedmont Monadnock Forest of Chestnut Oak, Sourwood, White Oak, and Red Maple. Sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum) and Hillside Blueberry, (V. pallidum) are common shrubs. Willow Oaks and some Red Maples form a loose canopy over dense sedges, such as Carex joorii, and various wetland herbs.
Lower slopes and lowlands with more nutrient-rich soils produce Mesic Oak-Hickory Forest or along creeks, Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest. They are notable for having large populations of an uncommon grass: Longleaf Spikegrass (Chasmanthium sessiliflorum). Good examples of this habitat are along Kron Creek located near the parking lot of Kron House marked as a point of interest on the park map. The mesic hardwoods community with herbs and sedges tends to form dense carpets including Ravine Sedge (Carex impressinervia), a misnomer in NC, as populations generally occur in floodplain forests on flat ground.
REGISTER HERE! The final hike-day agenda and directions will be sent after registration closes.
Space is limited, and registration is for members only. The cost is $15 per person. We will close registration on April 5 or when we reach 60 people or 15 hikers per group, whichever comes first. We recommend you register and pay online, so your registration spot won’t be delayed. If the hike becomes full and is marked CLOSED, you will be assigned to another open hike.
There will be a link to the Hike Waiver on the registration. You will need to click “Agree” as this is a required entry to reserve your spot.
If you have any problems with registration or if you have any questions, please contact Diane Laslie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before your hike, please check in at Picnic Shelter C (located in the picnic area near the pool and Quarry Trail) for any last-minute directions.
We begin the day at the trailhead for each hike at 9:30 a.m. Please read the trail descriptions before you register to find the trail that best suits you. Loop trails will require that you complete the hike.
Bridle Short Loop Trail with Hike Leader Brenda L. Wichmann
This is a moderate 4.8-mile loop trail that circles the base of Morrow Mountain. The highlights of the trail are to see a globally rare plant and a globally rare natural community.
Fall Mountain Trail with Hike Leader Katherine Culatta
This is a moderate 4.1-mile loop trail that traverses a wide variety of habitats and geology. The top of Fall Mountain features Chestnut Oak and undisturbed rhyolite outcrops. Painted Buckeye, Trailing Arbutus, Carolina Silverbell, and Pinxter Azalea may be found along the trail.
Hattaway Mountain Trail with Hike Leader Chris Liloia
This is a moderate 3.1-mile loop trail. It offers rewarding views from the top of the mountain. Chestnut Oaks, Sourwood, Mountain Laurel, and the scattering of milky quartz are typical to find on this trail. After lunch, Chris will take you on an afternoon adventure to additional areas to botanize!
Morrow Mountain Trail with Hike Leader Jeff Marcus
This is a moderately challenging 2.6-mile trail (one-way/5.3 miles total) due to the steep half-mile just below the peak of Morrow Mountain. Otherwise, it is an easy trail with amazing views of Pee Dee River and Lake Tillery! Wildlife is abundant in this area, and you can also find residue chips and shards of grayish-blue rhyolite rock.
Three Rivers Trail (Add-on)
This is a short, easy 0.8-mile trail that you can add to your main hike if time and energy permit. This trail is named for the point where the Yadkin River becomes the Pee Dee River and intersects with the Uwharrie River. Wildflowers such as spring beauty, wing-stem, and trumpet creeper bloom at different times of the year. River Birches and Sycamore trees can be found in the low areas, with many Chestnut Oaks and American Beeches on the ridgetop.
Click to view the Park Map.
What to Bring for Hikes
Be sure to check the weather in advance and plan accordingly.
- Appropriate footwear
- Backpack with food and water
- Sun protection
- Tick and bug repellent
- Trekking poles or walking sticks
- Rain gear and dry-fast layers
- Final agenda for times and directions to your hikes
Picnic Shelter C is located at the picnic area near the pool and Quarry Trail. There is ample parking in that area, and the shelter is reserved for NCNPS all day. Bring your lunch, take a break, and chat with other NCNPS members!
Porta-johns are found in the picnic area, and restrooms can be found at the Office, the boat launch area, and the top of Morrow Mountain.
If you are interested in camping, the park is currently undergoing a major renovation, including campgrounds and cabins. You may need to contact the office to discuss staying on the premises. Group and primitive camping sites are available. The renovation also includes work on trails and prescribed burns are ongoing. All this activity may require our flexibility to alter the day’s experience.
Click here for more park camping information.