Charlotte, NC: Badin Lake Loop

Enjoy lake views and isolated woods on this easy trail along Badin Lake in Uwharrie National Forest.
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Enjoy lake views and isolated woods on this easy trail along Badin Lake in Uwharrie National Forest.

Although it's slightly farther from Charlotte than many of my trips, Badin Lake Loop is well worth it. The scenery is beautiful, whether it's the majority of the trail that hugs the lake or the sections deep in the woods. You will have much of the trail to yourself, and the very flat terrain, dense forest, and winding route make exploring the woods a very relaxing route. BY MATT CLAPP

Trip Details
Hiking Distance: 5.8 miles
Hiking Time: 3 hours
Distance from Uptown: 1:15
More Info: Website

Prepare
1. Enter "Badin Lake Group Campground" into Google Maps. Drive to the parking lot just past the campground sign.
2. If you enjoy fishing, bring a fishing pole for the many opportunities to cast your line into Badin Lake. Keep in mind you'll need a state fishing license for this.

Explore
Mile 0.0: Start on the dirt trail at the Hiker Trail sign to the right of the bathroom.
1.3: At the top of the peninsula, continue on the trail that hugs the lake
1.65: Head inland along the creek.
2.2: Cross the street
2.3: The Badin Loop Trail intersects the Josh Trail for 0.1 mile. Continue to follow the white blazes.
2.5: Pass a brown trail sign at the intersection of another trail. Continue across to follow the white blazes in the direction of Arrowhead Campground.
2.6: Cross a gravel road. Take a moment to enjoy the sounds of birds chirping.
3.0: Reach a fork onto asphalt. Continue straight on the right fork.
3.2: Arrive at a T junction. Go right.
3.6: Arrive at a dirt trail going sharp right downhill. After a few hundred feet, reach the parking lot. Turn right, walk to the end of the parking lot, and rejoin the trail. For the next 3 miles you will stay with 15 feet of the shore.
5.8: Arrive back at the parking lot.

Reward
1. Walk the half-mile loop around the top of the peninsula from the parking lot. It's a casual stroll on asphalt, with many small piers to get a good view or cast your line from.

My Day
Weather: 80, overcast, slight breeze
Drink: Chocolate cherry milkshake from Bad Daddy's (afterwards)
Song: Sober by Niykee Heaton—"Told you I fought, They tempt me, I'm begging to live..."
Water: 8 oz.

Trail Facts

  • State: NC
  • City: Charlotte, NC
  • Distance: 5.8
  • Contact: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/null/recarea/?recid=49086&actid=93
  • Land Type: National Forest