|Birkhead Mountains Wilderness|
|Location||Randolph County, North Carolina, USA|
|Area||5,160 acres (21 km2)|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
|Website||Birkhead Mountains Wilderness|
The Birkhead Mountains Wilderness was established by the 1984 North Carolina Wilderness Act, and it covers 5,160 acres (20.9 km2) in the Uwharrie National Forest at the northern end of the Uwharrie Mountains, in central North Carolina. The goals are to protect and preserve its natural resources and wilderness character and provide for public use.
These mountains are considered to be the oldest on the North American continent. Evidence of early Indians dates back over 12,000 years. The Catawba Indians inhabited the area when the Europeans began exploring the region in the late 1600s. By 1760 settlement had begun in earnest, opened up by the explorers and traders along the Ocaneechi Trail.
The Birkhead family raised a son, John Watson (Watt), who was born in 1858. The 3,000 acres (12 km2) that he acquired over the years were made up of many small tenant farms. Thus the mountain range became known locally as the Birkhead Mountains.
All trails within the wilderness are designated hiking trails. Travel by horse, motorized vehicle or bicycle is prohibited. No mountain bikes or ATVs are allowed within the wilderness area.
Disperse camping is allowed in the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness. Campers are required to stay at least 200 feet from all streams, creeks, roads and wildlife fields. When using fire rings, campers should disperse the ring before leaving camp. Use of cook stoves is highly recommended. Firewood is available as dead and down in the forest; campers should not cut live trees for firewood. Also hunting is allowed in this area, orange is advisable to wear during the hunting seasons, when hiking the trails. No permanent camps are allowed in the wilderness area. Camping is allowed for a 14-day period within a 30-day time frame. Dogs are allowed as long as they are on a leash and kept under control.
Parking is available at Tot Hill Trailhead, Thornburg Trailhead and Robbins Branch Trailhead.