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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Badin Lake - Sparkling Waters

Posted March 9, 2009 10:29 a.m. EDT

Badin Lake is a great place for hikers, anglers and horse lovers. It’s about a 90 mile drive from my home in Cary. I took Highway 64 to Asheboro and then south onto Highway 49 toward Charlotte. After about 18 miles on Highway 49 I turned onto Highway 109 and drove 8 miles to Eldorado where you enter the Badin Lake segment of the Uwharrie National Forest. Cindy and I spent more than four hours hiking around the lake in the beautiful weather on Saturday. I’ve attached a couple of photographs from the trip.

The lake is located on the Yadkin River in both Montgomery and Stanly counties not too far from where my former WRAL colleague Charlie Gaddy grew up. Badin (pronounced BAYD-in) is a lovely lake with sparkling waters. It covers nearly 6,000 acres and was built in 1917 by an aluminum company for hydroelectric power and recreation. Fishermen love the lake for its legendary catfish. In 2003 an angler reeled in an 83 lb. blue catfish from the deep waters of Badin Lake.

Tragedy struck these waters in 1944 when a Navy bomber crashed into the lake. The bodies of the pilot and co-pilot were never found. The military believes the pilot made an unauthorized trip to the area to show off his new plane to in-laws en route to the Cherry Point Marine Air Station. After circling the lake twice the bomber mysteriously plunged into the waters.

The hike around the lake is easy to moderate. We encountered very few hikers but a fair number of fishermen and campers. The trail was mostly well marked though certain segments where somewhat confusing. It was a pleasant journey with one exception – the constant rattle of gunfire on adjacent gameland. At one point I expected bullets to come whizzing through the hardwood forest.

Badin Lake has some wonderful equestrian trails. A horse camp here attracts dozens of families on warm weather weekends.

Cindy did pick up a tick bite here and we saw a small yawning young snake on the trail. Other than that it was pretty peaceful and easygoing.

How many of you have been to Badin Lake? What were your impressions? Please share.