The Uwharrie Mountain Range is a small collection of low peaks located in the southeastern Piedmont region of North Carolina. Over 500 million years in age, these ancient hills were once a volcanic coastal range of Himalayan proportions. Eons of weathering and geologic change have done their work, however, and now these peaks sit far removed from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and, at their highest, just barely manage to reach beyond 1,000-feet in height. It remains an area of remarkable diversity though, primarily due to the fact that much of the Uwharries were preserved within the boundaries of Uwharrie National Forest back in the 1930's. At the time, logging and agriculture had all but eliminated the woodlands that covered the hills. Today, however, much of the landscape is once again forested and contains a unique blend of coastal and Piedmont ecosystems. The Uwharrie National Forest, at just over 50,000 acres in size, also contains dozens of miles of hiking trails...the longest of which is the 50+ mile Uwharrie Trail...and 10% of its area has been designated as federal wilderness.
Finding myself with a short couple hours in the Uwharrie's I decided upon the somewhat unimpressive-sounding Little Long Mountain as the focal point of this days exploration. Located in the northern portion of the National Forest, Little Long Mountain sits astride the Uwharrie Trail making it quite an easy peak to access. Not quite breaking the 1,000-foot mark in height you may wonder why it stood out to me as a destination. Well, quite simply, its because Little Long is one of the very select peaks in the Uwharries that sports views from its summit. The top of Little Long sports a backcountry trail shelter and a good area around the shelter has been cleared of trees offering limited 180-degree views. That said, I'd highly recommend this peak be visited in the winter. The surrounding forest limited the views quite a bit on my visit due to the amount of leaves still remaining on the trees. Once the leaves have dropped I'm sure the panorama is much better. Overall then, it's not a summit of overwhelming beauty but it was a nice place to get my first taste of hiking in the Uwharrie Range.
So, without further adieu I present to you Little Long Mountain...its certainly not my most scenic album but hopefully it serves you, as it did me, with a starting taste of what it's like to explore the Uwharrie Mountains on foot. As always...ENJOY!!!
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.507349, -79.952747
Mileage Hiked: 1.8 miles Hike Duration: 1:00
Trailhead Temp: 70'F Trail Traffic: 1-5 people
Min. Elevation: 710' Max. Elevation: 922'
Total Vertical Gain: 200' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 222'