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Canoeing at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park
Status of Park Facilities and Gate Hours   

Tent, trailer and RV campsites are open for reservations, with the exception of group campsites, which remain closed. The camper cabins are available from Fridays to Sundays only; they are closed Monday to Thursday for cleaning.

The swim lake and beach area remain CLOSED. There are NO;boat rentals.

Park trails and restrooms are open. The visitor center also remains closed until further notice.

Park hours for the Summer are;8:00am to 8:00pm daily.

When visiting, please follow social distancing guidelines, regardless of the behavior of others. Please try to stay 6 feet away from other visitors and park staff or wear a mask or face covering. Try to touch as few surfaces as possible and do not enter areas that have been closed off. Wash or sanitize your hands before, during, and after your visit, and stay home if you are sick.

 Last updated on: Monday, June 1, 2020


Map of North Carolina – Cliffs of the Neuse State Park


Contact the park
 

919-778-6234

cliffs.neuse@ncparks.gov
 

Address
 

Visitor center

240 Park Entrance Road
Seven Springs, NC 28578

GPS: 32.2354, -77.8932
 

Hours
 

► 

  • The park is currently operating with new hours until further notice, 8:00am to 8:00pm.
     
  • November to February:
    7:00am to 6:00pm
     
  • March to April:
    7:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • May to August:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • September to October:
    7:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

► 

  • Open daily:
    9:00am to 5:00pm
     
  • The visitor center may close for 1 hour at midday on weekends.
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

 

 

 

History highlights

Witness the effects of the forces of erosion that have carved and chiseled cliffs in the south banks of the Neuse River. Extending for 600 yards, this spectacular series of cliffs rises 90 feet above the water. Layers of sand, clay, seashells, shale and gravel form the multicolored cliff face, a rainbow of white, tan, yellow and brown.

The cliffs were formed when a fault in the earth's crust shifted millions of years ago. The Neuse River followed this fault line and, over time, cut its course through layers of sediment deposited by shallow seas that had earlier covered the coastal plain. A portion of the river took a bend against its bank and the water's erosive action slowly carved Cliffs of the Neuse.

Much of the human history of the area centers around the river. The Tuscarora and Saponi Indian tribes once occupied much of the land between the Neuse and Pamlico rivers. What is now the park used to be a ceremonial ground and a gathering place for hunting expeditions; the river was used for travel into the surrounding wilderness.

Early European settlers set up a trading center at Whitehall (now Seven Springs), the earliest English settlement in the area. After the Revolutionary War, a stagecoach line and river traffic promoted growth of the town.

A gateway to the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, the Neuse River also played a role in Civil War history. As part of an effort by the Confederate navy to challenge Union control of North Carolina's coastal waters, an ironclad ramming vessel, the CSS Neuse, was built at Whitehall. The ill-fated ship ran aground in the river and was destroyed to prevent its capture. The town itself was bombarded by Union cannons and much of it was demolished.

Early in the 20th century, Whitehall was known for its mineral water cures. In an area of just a few square feet were seven springs, each said to produce water with a different chemical content. On summer weekends, visitors checked into local hotels to drink mineral water and to take riverboat excursions to the cliffs. A gallon of the water per day was prescribed for "whatever ails you." The waters were also used for whiskey stills—locals explained that if the mineral water didn't cure people's ills, the corn whiskey would make them forget what ailed them to begin with!

In the 1920s, the community was damaged by fire and never fully recovered. In 1944, local landowner Lionel Weil proposed that the cliffs area along the Neuse River be preserved as a state park. Land on the south side of the river was donated by Weil and other individuals through the Wayne Foundation and the park was established in 1945. An additional contribution of approximately 200 acres extended the boundary east of the river. Additional purchases and donations increased the park to its present size of 1,050 acres.