Click the links below to view information about activities for this park.
|Education and Events|
Boating: Rent a canoe or rowboat at the boathouse on Big Lake. Relaxing on these small boats is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Rentals are available as follows:
The boathouse is open on weekends beginning the first weekend in April through the second weekend in October. Boat rentals are $5 for the first hour and $3 for each additional hour (cash or check only). Boathouse hours are from 8:30am-4:30pm with the last boats being rented out at 3:30pm. Boats are not available for rental after 3:30pm and all boats must be returned by 4:30pm. Stop by the boathouse on weekends to rent a canoe or rowboat. Pets are not allowed in boats.
Bridle Trails: For people who prefer horseback, approximately 13 miles of bridle trails travel through some of the most scenic and secluded parts of the park. Signs mark the equestrian trails. Horses are restricted to these trails and are not permitted in other areas of the park, including hiking trails. Bridle trailhead parking is available on Sycamore Road past Maple Hill Lodge. All visitors with horses must be able to provide proof of a negative equine infectious anemia (Coggins) test while visiting North Carolina State Parks. All equestrians must check in at the Visitor Center prior to riding on the multiuse trails.
Camping: Tent camping: Stay a while and take time to enjoy the park. The tent campground is open March 15 through December 1. Twenty-eight campsites, well-shaded by a hardwood forest, offer picnic tables and grills. Hookups are not available, but drinking water and restrooms with showers are centrally located.
Primitive group camping: Two primitive campgrounds are open year round for organizations and nonprofit groups that want a more rugged camping experience. Reservations are required for use of these campgrounds.
The youth tent camp offers tent sites, a pit privy, fire ring, two picnic tables and running water. The camp accommodates up to 25 people.
Maple Hill Lodge is also available for groups. Facilities include a fireplace, drinking water, fire ring, picnic tables and restrooms. The lodge houses up to 25 people. The lodge is a historic landmark built in the 1930s. The lodge is an open room with no furniture. Campers must bring their own sleeping bags.
Group camping: Two group camps - Camp Crabtree and Camp Lapihio - are available to organizations and nonprofit groups. Each camp includes a mess hall, dining area, and washhouses. Located in the heart of the woodlands, each camp offers ample opportunity to explore the wonders of nature. Swimming in Sycamore Lake is a popular group activity. Groups are responsible for providing swimming supervision and water safety. A Waiver form and Guidelines for Unprotected Swimming Area must be signed by group leaders and submitted prior to camp occupancy.
Group camps are open April through October and may be rented daily in spring and fall or weekly during the summer. Accommodating between 27 and 120 people, an entire camp may be rented or a unit of cabins may be rented. Fees vary accordingly. A minimum of 10 people is required to rent a group camp or unit. Reservations for the group camps must be made by calling or coming into the park office.
Group Camp, Waiver Form and Guidelines for Unprotected Swimming Area, forms and permits are available from the Forms & Permits link on the Park Menu to the left.
Cycling: William B. Umstead State Park is one of the few state parks offering trails for bicycling. The mountain-bike trails follow the same roads as the bridle trails and are entered at the same points. Bike trailhead parking is also available down Sycamore Road past Maple Hill Lodge. Mountain bikes are prohibited on the hiking trails.
Education and Events: Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about William B. Umstead State Park. Click the Events link on the Park Menu to the left to search our database of park events.
To arrange a special exploration of William B. Umstead State Park for your group or class, contact the park office.
Educational materials about William B. Umstead State Park have been developed for grades 3-5 and are correlated to North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The William B. Umstead program introduces students to resource management, from land-use practices that can destroy natural resources to proper land management, restoration, and preservation. Major concepts covered include forces and causes of erosion and sedimentation, erosion and sedimentation laws, resource management and stewardship. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators. To learn more about environmental education or to search our database of upcoming workshops, click the Education tab, above.
Exhibit Hall: Gain a better understanding of the natural and cultural history of the land that is now William B. Umstead State Park by visiting the park's exhibit hall. A series of interactive exhibits, oral histories and images by the celebrated Depression-era photographer Carl Mydans guides visitors through the park's transformation from exhausted farmland in the early 20th century to the dynamic Piedmont forest that exists today. The exhibit hall opened in July, 2001.
Fishing: Three manmade lakes are part of the picturesque beauty of William B. Umstead State Park. The largest is Big Lake, which lies on Sycamore Creek. From the parking lot in the Crabtree Creek section, a broad gravel path leads to this 55-acre body of water. Further downstream is Sycamore Lake and, near the intersection of Crabtree and Reedy creeks, is Reedy Creek Lake. Sycamore and Reedy Creek lakes cover about 25 acres each.
Anglers will enjoy casting a line at William B. Umstead State Park. Fishing is permitted in each of the three lakes and in the connecting streams. Common catches include bass, bluegill and crappie. Regulations of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are enforced.
Hiking: Twenty miles of hiking trails provide access to most of William B. Umstead State Park. Visitors may choose between a short stroll along a nature trail or a more extensive hike into the woods. Either choice will be rewarding as the beauty and diversity of the park's natural resources are best seen from any one of its many trails. Some of the trails at the park interconnect; to avoid becoming lost, pay close attention to trail markers. No bikes or horses are allowed on hiking trails.
Picnicking: Take a picnic in the park; tables, grills and scenery are provided free of charge. A pine/hardwood forest forms a canopy for 40 picnic tables in the Crabtree Creek section. Reedy Creek offers 25 tables scattered under the trees. Drinking water, restrooms and parking are conveniently located nearby.
Crabtree Creek has two shelters for group picnics. One shelter accommodates up to 100 people; the second is for smaller gatherings of 20 people or less. A fireplace in each shelter offers an ideal setting for cool-weather dining. There are two shelters with fireplaces at Reedy Creek. One accommodates 125 people and has an attached stone deck; the second accommodates 60 people and is accessible. William B. Umstead State Park's picnic shelters are extremely popular, so reservations are suggested. Use of the shelters is free of charge unless reservations are made.