Great Uwharrie hiking

Johnny Molloy is the author of the just-published “Hiking North Carolina’s National Forests” (UNC Press; $45 hardcover, $22 paperback). We asked him about his favorite hikes in Uwharrie National Forest ( ).

Most compelling

Uwharrie Trail. “The forest’s namesake trail is an excellent 20-mile hike, end to end. You can do it as an overnight or a day hike. It mixes mountains and streams and goes through intimate valleys were wildflowers are.

“The forest itself is a good wildflower destination. If you live mid-state or in the Triangle, it means you don’t have to drive too far to see a beautiful place.

Birkhead Wilderness Hike. “This is a small wilderness area in the national forest where you can do a six-mile loop. On it, you see the chimneys of the abandoned Christopher Bingham plantation from the 1700s.”

Dutchman's Loop. “Backpackers will enjoy the sites all along the streams. The 11-mile loop drop into some big creeks – like Big Island Creek – that are divided by pine-y hills.”

Best for families

Badin Lake Loop. “The popular lake is partly bordered by the national forest. Here’s a 5.1-mile look that goes along the lake and up into the hills beyond. This is a nice single-track path that explores hills and hollows. You have great water views, and the trail is convenient for multiple recreation opportunities: There’s hiking, swimming and a campground.”

Benson Creek Loop. “It’s near the town of Troy and starts at a ranger station near town of troy. This is a family-friendly, safe and well-marked 2.5-mile loop that goes down into the streams in hilly country. It’s not mountainous in any stretch.” John Bordsen