Barnes Creek

            Montgomery County is blessed with a great abundance of natural resources.  Perhaps the most abundant, and ultimately valuable, of these resources is the water that traverses the county.  Numerous creeks and drainages form larger bodies of water such as Little River, Uwharrie River , and the Yadkin-Pee Dee River .  Few counties in this part of the state can lay claim to three different rivers.  With so much water around, Montgomery County was in far better shape last summer throughout the prolonged drought than its neighboring counties who have fewer resources from which to draw. 

            Of all the waterways scattered around the county, Barnes Creek may well be the crown jewel.  Barnes Creek originates in southern Randolph County , just south of the Birkhead Wilderness Area.  It then flows south across the county line where it provides a remarkably mountainous view from Jumpin’ Off Rock.  Slightly downstream it picks up the drainage of Poison Fork and heads towards the Uwharrie River .  On the last stretch before joining the Uwharrie River , Barnes Creek provides one more scenic area where it crosses under Ophir Road . 

            Barnes Creek is special for several reasons.  Socially, it provides several pools known for their excellent swimming opportunities.  Historically, the creek flows through the heart of gold mining country.  Barnes Creek also offers a glimpse of what Piedmont creeks and rivers should look like.  It flows clear and provides habitat for fish and mussel species that can’t survive in the dirty waters of urban streams.  The creek also provides a form of recognition for local landowners.  The N.C. Division of Water Quality (DWQ) has identified Barnes Creek as an Outstanding Resource Water (ORW).  An ORW is the top classification a stream can receive.  Such a classification is not commonplace, with only two other streams in the entire Piedmont receiving this lofty ranking.  Thus, landowners within the Barnes Creek watershed should take pride.  Their diligence, coupled with the natural terrain of the watershed, have helped create a source of pride for Montgomery County residents. 

            If you’d like to experience the crystal-clear waters of Barnes Creek you may do so from the Dark Mountain Trailhead located on Flint Hill Road .  At this point, much of the surrounding land is Uwharrie National Forest property so you can follow the stream for a good hike if you choose.  If nothing else, next time you drive across a culvert and see a sign for Barnes Creek take a moment to appreciate the clean running waters for what they are: a local treasure.