Tucked away in the foothills of the North Carolina mountains rest some of the most scenic and enjoyable trails the Southeast has to offer. We can't decide if it's the tacky orange clay, the steep rocky passes, or just the feeling of real American off-roading that makes us like the Uwharrie National Forest so much. When we received the invite from Kelly Carter we were told that this was a great place for weekend wheeling and would serve as ample vehicle testing grounds before we took the long trip over to the Tellico OHV area.
One of the reasons for Uwharrie's popularity is that you don't need a fully built rockcrawler to enjoy the trails. We ran into a huge variety of vehicles ranging from stock Land Rovers and Jeeps to fullsize 1-ton trucks. No matter what you were driving, there were plenty of trails for you to enjoy. When we arrived the rain was still coming down at a steady drizzle. We were told that this was a great time to be on the trail because the rain keeps down the dust on the forest roads, the clay becomes tacky to increase the challenge of the hillclimbs, and the rocks stay just dry enough to make for some great rockcrawling
Whether it's your first time on the trail or just another fun run for the books, the combination of Uwharrie's family-friendly atmosphere, genuine Southern hospitality, and great community of wheelers will have you running for the hills every chance you get.
The rock gods must have been angry with the Jeep Grand Cherokees that weekend, for the only two poor saps to experience any breakage were the two unibodied Goliaths with us.
The '93 ZJ that belonged to David Farrow gave us a demonstration of what happens when you mix big tires (38s to be exact) with a Dana 30. Luckily he was a prepared wheeler and had a new axleshaft swapped out in about 30 minutes.
On the other hand, Buddy Pettigrew and his '04 WJ (below) were not as fortunate. After he gassed his 37-inch SSRs over a rock ledge, we heard a loud bang, then no movement. The victim this time was a broken tailshaft housing on the back of the transfer case, which resulted in the Grand having to be towed off the trail.