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