Have you ever wanted to know more about mushrooms? There are hundreds of varieties of fungus growing around Lake James with all sorts of fabulous fun facts associated with them. Human beings have a complicated relationship with wild mushrooms – some have medicinal uses, some are prized edibles and some are deadly. Join Karen Johnson, Lake James State Park’s resident mushroom enthusiast for a leisurely stroll along the Fox Den Loop to discuss what constitutes a fungus and identification techniques. Karen is a member of the Asheville Mushroom Club and the park’s office administrator. Meet her at the Catawba River Area breezeway at 10 a.m.
Events and Programs
The weekday hours for boat rentals at Lake James State Park are subject to change due to staffing and other late season concerns. Please call ahead to the park office at 828-584-7728 to determine if the park will be renting boats that day.
Be advised that the directions of Tindo and Wimba Trails have changed. Tindo Trail is going in a clockwise direction and Wimba Trail is going in a counterclockwise direction. If the time stamp on this alert is more than 24 hours old, please feel free to call the park office at 828-584-7728 for the most up-to-date information
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.
Over the last 7 years the staff at Lake James State Park has been diligent in landscaping with native plants that are attractive to insect pollinators. Those efforts have paid 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 2 p.m.
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 can carry two adults and one child (must be 7 years of age or older). The program starts at 9 a.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.
A lot of the resource management decisions made at the park are based on the existing landscape and how it can be restored. Trees are an integral component of the ecosystem and there is great interest in learning how to identify them. Park Ranger Clay Veasey will lead this hike along the Sandy Cliff Overlook Trail and explain how to use bark patterns, seeds, nuts and cones and fallen leaves and needles to figure out what trees are towering above. Meet at the Catawba River Area breezeway at 2 p.m.
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 ospreys, otters, eagles and scenic vistas. The weather could be hot and muggy, 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