Friday, December 5, 2008

ROADTRIP: Morrow Mountain State Park (Albemarle, NC)

Overview: On November 16, 2008, my husband and I were able to take a beautiful autumn hike on Hattaway Mountain in Morrow Mountain State Park. The park is home to numerous trails exploring the ancient Uhwarrie Mountain range, a small natural history museum and the historic homestead of Dr. Francis Kron. For those interested, the home will be open Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm for the next three weekends (December 6/7, 13/14 and 20/21). Morrow Mountain State Park is located south of Greensboro, NC in Stanley County. Click here for additional directions.


History, Ecology and Personal Observations: Our journey along the strenuous, 2 mile Hattaway Mountain trail (see park trail map) began on the west side of the park's large swimming pool. The trail wound its way up a gradual incline, through mature woods before reaching the Hattaway Mountain loop. Hattaway Mountain is one of four peaks in Mount Morrow State Park that remind us of the former grandeur of the Uwharrie Mountains, the oldest mountain range in the eastern United States. Although the mountain peaks in the park do not quite attain 1,000 feet in elevation today, the Uwharries once towered some 20,000 feet above sea level and were formed roughly 500 million years ago when the North American and African tectonic plates collided.

View of the Hattaway Mountain Trail, Morrow Mountain State Park, Nov. 16, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)
View from the top of Hattaway Mountain, Morrow Mountain State Park, Nov. 16, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

Post oak (Quercus stellata) leaf on Hattaway Mountain Trail, Morrow Mountain State Park, Nov. 16, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

The Hattaway Mountain trail hosts some of the park's most beautiful upland forest and scenic autumn vistas. Tree enthusiasts will be greeted by towering chestnut oaks (Quercus prinus) and hickories (Carya spp.), while those looking for a quiet fall or winter hike will be impressed by the sweeping views and relative privacy of this often overlooked trail. While Mark and I hiked this trail, we did not meet anyone else.

Lichen on Hattaway Mountain, Morrow Mountain State Park, Nov. 16, 2008 (© Nicolette L. Cagle)

1 comment:

jill said...

Thanks for the pictures - Morrow Mountain State Park in the wintertime saved me in a very dark year -- so beautiful!!