Outdoor Recreation in Stanly County
Let the Adventure Begin…
Contributed by: Bridget Huckabee
For the ultimate adventure, take a ‘night of the full moon’ guided kayak tour through dreamlike stretches of the Pee Dee River. Later, laze by your own campfire on the slopes of Morrow Mountain. In the morning, bait a line and compete with ospreys and bald eagles for that big one. Then ramp up the pace and water ski on Lake Tillery or Badin Lake, bicycle along a Scenic Byway or hike a trail through the serene forests of Morrow Mountain.
For the outdoor adventurer, Morrow Mountain State Park is Stanly County’s jewel in the crown. Rising to a height of 936 feet (not strictly a mountain), the peak offers stunning views of the Piedmont. The park attracts 400,000 visitors a year from all over the southeastern United States and its 4,742 acres accommodate them with ease. Here one can choose from a long list of adventures, from camping in one of the 106 campsites or 6 rustic vacation cabins, to hiking miles of well-maintained trails. A large swimming pool offers a cool break on a hot day. And don’t miss a visit to the Dr. Francis Kron homestead. One of the first medical doctors to settle in the Piedmont, his office, infirmary and greenhouse appear much as they did in the 1870’s. At the boat landing you can put in your own craft or rent a canoe or rowboat to explore the Yadkin/Pee Dee River.
Dams on this river have created large lakes that provide endless recreational possibilities. In the northeast corner of the county, Badin Lake’s waters cover 5,350 acres and its 115 mile shoreline encompasses the upscale Uwharrie Point community in the north and the quaint village of Badin in the south. With swimming areas, boat landings, picnic areas, and an abundance of wildlife, the lake is an ideal place for the outdoor enthusiastic.
On the eastern border of the county, Lake Tillery covers over 5,000 acres. At its northern end the lake is bordered by Morrow Mountain State Park and the Uwharrie National Forest. It is here that the tranquil Uwharrie River enters the main stream and the Yadkin River changes its name to Pee Dee. Boating, fishing and water sports are popular with visitors from far and wide.
The friendly town of Norwood is the Gateway to Lake Tillery and each spring nearby Fork Farm’s Horse Trials and Outdoor Heritage Days draw spectators from all over to watch Olympic caliber riders put their mounts through their paces.
And last but not least, surely no county of comparable size and population boasts more parks that Stanly County. There are 23 parks in Stanly County, ranging from Morrow Mountain State Park to Stanfield’s Pike family barn and rest-area-with-facilities-to-come. These parks boast everything from soccer fields and bocce courts to fishing ponds and canoe rentals, and there’s even a brand new disc golf course. And did we mention the area’s 5 golf courses?
With our mild climate and abundant sunshine, Stanly County offers something for everyone from vigorous exercise to idling away the hours on a grassy slope beside a gentle stream. Come and enjoy our great outdoors. Take a deep breath of fresh air, feel your cares and worries slip away, and let the adventure begin.