The waters and shoreline of Lake James is bursting with life and there’s no better way to explore than by boat. Park Ranger Earl Weaver will be your captain and guide aboard the park patrol boat as we search for loons, ospreys, eagles and scenic vistas. The weather could be blustery or it could be sultry, so be sure to watch the forecast and dress appropriately for the day (remember it’s always cooler out on the water) if you are one of the eight lucky participants. Registration is required and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Call the park office at 828-584-7728 to reserve your spot. Meet at the Paddy’s Creek Area East Picnic Shelter at 9:45 a.m. for a briefing and prompt 10 a.m. departure.
Events and Programs
ALL CAMPGROUNDS ARE CURRENTLY BOOKED UP FOR MEMORIAL WEEKEND! Our new campground is finally open! We now have 33 drive-to tentsites at the Paddy's Creek Area. They can be reserved online or by calling 877-722-6762. With the addition of this new campground we now have 83 tentsites open year-round. We cannot accomadate RVs at this time.Posted on: Monday, May 30, 2016 - 8:46am
Beginning Saturday May28 Lifeguards will be on duty. Swim charges will be $5.00 for Adults 13 and over and $4.00 for childern 3-12. After Memorial Day our concession stand will be open daily and the canoe/kayak rentals will also be available daily through Labor Day. The fee for rentals is $5.00 per hour or $30.00 for the day.Posted on: Monday, May 30, 2016 - 8:46am
The mountain bike trails at Lake James are OPEN today. To protect the trails from damage and keep our riders safe during hazardous conditions, bike trails will be closed whenever trails are too wet to allow riders. Accordingly, riders should contact the park prior to arrival to confirm that the trail is open.Posted on: Monday, May 30, 2016 - 8:46am
Lake James State Park offers a variety of learning opportunities for all ages. Typically led by park rangers, these interpretive programs allow the public to gain perspective into what makes North Carolina state parks naturally wonderful.
Most of the events are free, though some require pre-registration. All give park visitors deeper insight into the natural world. Call the park office for more information.
Lake James State Park Superintendent Nora Coffey will be co-hosting with the Catawba Valley Astronomy Club for a night of star gazing. Learn some basic star gazing tips and take home your own star chart. There will be telescopes and binoculars set up for viewing the night sky, but feel free to bring your own if you have them. Folding chairs are also recommended. We will meet in the upper parking lot of the Paddy’s Creek Area at 8:00 p.m. Register by calling the park office at 828-584-7728.
One of the main attractions to Lake James State Park is the quality fishing opportunities that can be found in the lake. Have you ever wanted to fish, but don’t know where to start? Here is a great opportunity. Meet Park Ranger Kevin Bischof at the Paddy’s Creek Area office and be prepared to wet a line! All of the fishing gear will be supplied so all you need to do is show up. Since gear will be provided, participation is limited to eight. The program starts at 1 p.m. Please call 828-584-7728 to sign-up for this program.
The tranquility of paddling a canoe on a quiet morning is one of life's simple pleasures. Discover the beauty of Lake James State Park from the water with Park Ranger Kevin Bischof. Whether you're an expert paddler or you don't know the difference between starboard and port, we'll provide the equipment and instruction to make it a memorable morning. Six park canoes are set aside for this free program and each is capable of carrying two adults and one child. The program starts at 9 a.m. and meets at the Paddy’s Creek swim beach. You must pre-register with a head-count of how many people will be in each boat (sorry, no singles). Please call 828-584-7728 and sign-up today.
Aquatic life in our creeks and rivers go far beyond the fish and crawdads you see with a casual glance. The ecosystem of moving water can be incredibly diverse, depending on water quality and other factors. At Lake James State Park, we are lucky to have a waterway of fantastic biological diversity and this program will show participants many of the hidden animals that call Paddy’s Creek home. Armed with nets, seines and buckets, participants will collect aquatic insects, crustaceans, fish, amphibians and more with Park Ranger Jamie Cameron. This program is suitable for all ages, especially those who are willing to get wet and have a great time. We will meet in the parking lot for the Holly Discovery Trail at the Paddy’s Creek Area at 10 a.m. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet and water shoes or waders if you have them.
Lake James State Park
Day-use areas at Paddy's Creek and Catawba River:
December - February: 7am - 6pm
March, April & October: 7am - 8pm
May - September: 7am - 9pm
November: 7am - 7pm
Catawba River Area Campground and Canal Bridge Access:
December, January, & February: 7am - 6pm (Campground and Hidden Cove Access closed)
March, April, & October: 7am - 9pm
May - September: 7am - 10pm
November: 7am - 8pm
All areas closed Christmas Day
10am - 6pm
May 1 through September 30