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Events and Programs

Late afternoon at Lake James State Park
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Dragon Boat Festival, Sat Oct 1st - No boat rentals available   

On Saturday, October 1st, The 1st Annual Dragon Boat Festival will be held at the Paddy's Creek Area at Lake James State Park.  Our concession stand will be open for refreshments only that day.  There will be no kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard rentals on October 1st.  Rentals will be available on Sunday, October 2nd and the following weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) through the end of the month.

 Posted on: Monday, September 26, 2016 - 9:04am
Mountain Bike Trails are OPEN.   

The mountain bike trails at Lake James are OPEN today. Our mountain bike trails are directional please pay attention to the signs.  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, September 26, 2016 - 9:04am
Canoe/kayak rentals Concession Stand   

Our concession stand and the canoe/kayak/paddleboard rentals will be available on weekends only through the month of October. The Swim Beach is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm through the end of September.  The fee for rentals is $5.00 per hour or $30.00 for the day.  Boat rentals end at 4:30 pm and all boats, paddles and lifejackets need to be back by 5:30 pm. This schedule is subject to change so please check this website for up to date information, or call the park office at (828) 584-7728. 

 Posted on: Monday, September 26, 2016 - 9:04am
Events and Programs

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 is an important waystation for all sorts of animals, birds and insects as the summer winds down. Past experience has proven to the park staff that there’s no better way to explore the lake and its abundant wildlife than by boat. Park Ranger Earl Weaver will be your captain and guide aboard the park patrol boat as we search for terns, beavers, eagles and scenic vistas. The weather could be hot and muggy or cool and drizzly, 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. In recognition of Take A Child Outside Week, adult participants must be accompanied by at least one child, age 16 or less. 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.

Date of Event:
Wed, 09/28/2016 - 10:00am
Start Location:
Paddy's Creek Area - East Shelter

September is a fantastic month to see some of Lake James’ cold-blooded residents. Meet Park Ranger Kevin Bischof during Take A Child Outside Week as he explores the Holly Discovery Trail in attempt to discover some of the amphibians that live in there. The hike is approximately .75 miles in length and starts 10 a.m. from the Holly Discovery Trailhead in the Paddy’s Creek Area of the park.  

Date of Event:
Thu, 09/29/2016 - 10:00am
Start Location:
Paddy's Creek Area - Bathhouse Breezeway

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 (must be 7 years of age or older). The program starts at 1 p.m. and meets at the Paddy’s Creek Area bathhouse breezeway. You must pre-register and be prepared to share your journey with a new friend if you are a single and space dictates. Call 828-584-7728 and sign-up today. 

Date of Event:
Fri, 10/07/2016 - 1:00pm
Start Location:
Paddy's Creek Area - Holly Discovery Trail

Bird migration is in full swing and it’s time to go watch the spectacle. The Paddy’s Creek parking area offers just the right mix of open water, shoreline woods and fields to see lots of species in a morning. Join Ranger Jamie Cameron for an exciting afternoon. We’ll start at 8 a.m. from the Paddy’s Creek Area bathhouse breezeway. Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them.

Date of Event:
Sat, 10/08/2016 - 8:00am
Start Location:
Paddy's Creek Area - Bathhouse Breezeway

Over the last 5 years the staff at Lake James State Park has been diligent in landscaping with native plants that are attractive to insect pollinators. Those efforts are starting to pay off and the pollinator gardens around the day use portion of the Paddy’s Creek Area are a showplace for butterflies, bees and a host of other insects that are critical to the health of our flowering and fruiting plant communities. Park Ranger Jamie Cameron will lead this tour of the gardens – discussing the different plants and how they are utilized by the insect community. Meet at the Paddy’s Creek Area bathhouse breezeway at 10:30 a.m.

Date of Event:
Sun, 10/09/2016 - 10:30am
Start Location:
Paddy's Creek Area - Bathhouse Breezeway

Lake James State Park

6883 NC Hwy 126
NeboNC 28761
Latitude: 35.750378
Longitude: -81.892075

Park Hours:

Day-use areas at Paddy's Creek and Catawba River:
December - February: 7am - 7pm
March, April & October: 7am - 9pm
May - September: 7am - 10pm 
November: 7am - 8pm

Hidden Cove Boat Access Hours:
December - February:  closed
March, April, & October: 7am - 8pm
May - September: 7am - 9pm
November: 7am - 7pm 
All areas closed Christmas Day

Swim Area
10am - 6pm 
May 1 through September 30