The amazing monarch butterfly migration will be at its peak and the Lake James State Park pollinator gardens are a great place to catch the spectacle. Park Ranger Jamie Cameron will explain the life-cycle of these incredible insects as we search for monarchs on their way to the wintering grounds in Mexico. This will be a leisurely excursion for all ages. Meet at the Paddy’s Creek Area bathhouse breezeway at 2 p.m.
Events and Programs
The mountain bike trails are currently OPEN. Please be advised that trails may close without notice due to weather conditions or trail maintenance. Contact the park office prior to arrival to confirm the trail conditions.Posted on: Friday, October 21, 2016 - 8:17am
Our concession stand and the canoe/kayak/paddleboard rentals will be available on weekends only through the month of October. The Swim Beach is CLOSED for the season. 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: Friday, October 21, 2016 - 8:17am
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 invites you to join her 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 and bug spray are also recommended. We will meet in the upper parking lot of the Paddy’s Creek Area at 7:00 p.m. Register by calling the park office at 828-584-7728.
The beautiful autumn leaves practically glow in the late afternoon light of October. These are the days photographers dream about. Join Park Ranger Jamie Cameron, a former photojournalist, for an afternoon session at some of the park’s most scenic sights. We’ll talk about composition and tips on getting closer to wildlife. You don’t have to have any experience or own a backpack of lenses to participate – everyone is welcome. Meet at the Linville Gorge Overlook at the Paddy’s Creek Area of the park at 4 p.m.
Come experience nature in a new way, a magnified way! Nature Magnified is a new program series at Lake James that will introduce kids to the natural world in a different way. Undoubtedly you’ve strolled the trails along the lake and experienced the beauty Lake James has to offer, but have you ever seen the natural world magnified? Come join Ranger Kevin Bischof as he leads a group along the trails of Lake James to explore the fall foliage of the forest on a different level. The park will supply the magnifying loupes, all you have to do is bring the kids and a sense of exploration. Magnification will turn your walk in the woods into a whole new experience. Because the park has a limited number of magnifying loupes, please call ahead of time to reserve your spot. Reservations can be made by calling the park office at 828-584-7728. This program can be used for the Junior Ranger program and will meet at 1 p.m. at the swim beach bathhouse in the Paddy’s Creek Area.
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. 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.
Lake James State Park
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
10am - 6pm
May 1 through September 30