Looking at a map of the Uwharrie region northeast of Charlotte, it’s easy to overlook Falls Reservoir. In part, that’s because of its more imposing neighhbors: Badin Lake to the north, Lake Tillery to the south. In part, too, it’s because the reservoir isn’t even marked on many maps: it’s simply indicated as the Yadkin River.

And this anonymity is OK with fans of Falls Reservoir because it is, they say, quite special. For one, it lacks the development found along the shores of its fellow lakes. Instead, you’ll see the Uwharrie Mountains lushly forested slopes cascading down to water’s edge. The steep slopes result in numerous rock outcrops and cliffs, including some waterfalls along the western shore. The paddling here is bittersweet: Prior to its being dammed this narrow slot — then referred to as the “Narrows of the Yadkin” — was reported to have some of the best whitewater in the state. As such, this spot now has some of the deepest water you’ll paddle in the Piedmont, reaching depths as great as 200 feet.

There’s good wildlife as well; watching bald eagles fish on the lake is not uncommon. Osprey and great blue herons are common as well.

There are two access points on the lake, both on the south side.

More info

Access: From Albemarle, go east on NC 740. In Badin, go right on Falls Road through town; the boat access is 2 miles, on the left.

Getting there from downtown Charlotte
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Time to complete: 2-3 hours
City: Badin
State: N.C.
Zip: 28009
Latitude: 35.2406
Longitude: 80.0574