Birkhead Mountains Wilderness

The Birkhead Mountains wilderness at the northern end of the forest was established by the 1984 North Carolina Wilderness Act and includes more than 5,000 acres in Randolph County at the northern end of the Uwharrie Mountains.  The Birkhead Family lived here during the 1800s.  John Watson Birkhead, born in 1858, acquired 3,000 acres of land and the mountains became known as the Birkhead Mountains.  The remoteness and ruggedness of the mountains made the location a popular spot for Confederate deserters and Union sympathizers during the Civil War.

Directions:

The Birkhead Mountains Wilderness is located in Randolph County just outside the city of Asheboro and can be accessed from three different trailheads.

The Tot Hill Farm trailhead is located off Tot Hill Farm Road.  From I-73/74 in Asheboro, take the exit for US-64 W/NC-49 S and continue on NC-49 south.  In about 3 miles, turn left on Tot Hill Farm Road.  The trailhead will be on the left in about 2.5 miles.

The Robbins Branch trailhead is located off Lassiter Mill Road.  From I-73/74 in Asheboro, take the exit for US-64 W/NC-49 S and continue on NC-49 south.  In about 5.5 miles, turn right onto Science Hill Road, go about a quarter-mile and turn left on Lassiter Mill Road.  Drive about 5.4 miles and turn left onto a gravel forest road.  The parking area is at the end of this road, about a half-mile from the turn.

Map:

Birkhead Mountains Wilderness

Hiking:

There are more than 10 miles of hiking trails in the wilderness area.  Trail descriptions are below.  For a wilderness area, the trails are surprisingly easy to follow.  There are signs at trailheads and trail intersections and all of the trails are blazed in white.

Birkhead Mountain Trail:

Length: 5.9 miles (one way)

Birkhead Mountain Trail starts at the Tot Hill Trailhead and heads south into the wilderness area.  At about 2 miles, the trail intersects Robbins Branch Trail at its northern terminus and gradually heads down to intersect with Hannahs Creek Trail.  The trail continues on and ends on a private road.

Birkhead Mountain Trail

Hannahs Creek Trail:

Length: 1.4 miles (one way)

Hannahs Creek Trail splits off from the Robbins Branch Trail shortly past the Robbins Branch Road Trailhead parking area.  The trail goes down a bit and crosses Robbins Branch and follows Hannahs Creek until it ends at the intersection with the Birkhead Mountain Trail.

Rocks on Hannahs Creek Trail

The ruins of an old homestead are located just off the trail near the intersection with Birkhead Mountain Trail.  As of October 2012, there was an old chimney standing that was the only obvious sign of the homestead (first picture below).  I visited again in November 2013, the old chimney had collapsed into a pile of stones (second picture below).

Old Chimney on Hannahs Creek Trail

Chimney Remains

Robbins Branch Trail:

Length: 3.1 miles (one way)

Robbins Branch Trail starts at the Robbins Branch Road Trailhead parking area.  After a short ways, the Hannahs Creek Trail splits off to the right.  The trail gradually ascends a hill and starts to head down at the intersection with the Thornburg Trail.  Continuing down, the trail meets up with Robbins Branch and follows its namesake for a ways.  After a short but steep climb, the trail ends at the intersection with the Birkhead Mountain Trail about 2 miles from the Tot Hill Trailhead.

Robbins Branch Trail

Thornburg Trail:

Length: 1.8 miles (one way)

External Links:

US Forest Service website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recreation/recarea/?recid=49146&actid=50

Blog Entries:

16Nov2013: Late Fall Color in Birkhead Mountains

Photos:


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