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Events and Programs

Late afternoon at Lake James State Park
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7321 N.C. 126
Nebo, NC 28761



Map of North Carolina

GPS: 35.750378, -81.892075


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

Mountain Bike Trails CLOSED   

Mountain bike trails are CLOSED today, November 13.  If the date is more than 24 hours old, please call the park office at 828-584-7728 for the latest information.

 Last updated on: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Beach and Boat Rentals Closed Oct. 1   

The swim beach and concession stand at the Paddy's Creek Access closed for the season on October 1. Canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards will not be available to rent after this date.

The beach will reopen on May 1, 2020, and the concession stand will reopen that month as staff are available.  If you have questions, please call the park office at 828-584-7728.

 Last updated on: Monday, November 4, 2019

Scheduled events

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.


Maintenance Mechanic Justin “Woody” Allen will be meeting a group of adventurous hikers to the Old Catawba River to search for aquatic plants, animals, insects and birds. The wetland habitat in this area is rich in biodiversity and rarely visited by humans. Meet Mechanic Allen at the Canal Bridge Boat Access on NC 126 at 9:45 a.m. for a 10 o’clock carpool caravan to the site.

Date of Event:
Fri, 11/15/2019 - 9:45am to 11:00am
Start Location:
Canal Bridge Boat Access

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 East Picnic Shelter at the Paddy’s Creek Area at 5 p.m. to start things off before migrating to the upper parking lot. Register by calling the park office at 828-584-7728.

Date of Event:
Sat, 11/16/2019 - 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Start Location:
East Picnic Shelter

The Fox Den Loop Trail offers just the right mix of open water, shoreline woods and fields to see plenty of plants and animal species in a morning. Join Ranger Jamie Cameron for a leisurely trek to start the day. We’ll begin at 9 a.m. from the Catawba River Area picnic shelter. Bring binoculars if you have them and dress appropriately for the forecast. The hike will take approximately 90 minutes.

Date of Event:
Sat, 11/23/2019 - 9:00am to 10:30am
Start Location:
Catawba River Area picnic shelter

Autumn colors might still be vibrant for this guided photography hike along the Paddy’s Creek Trail. Shutterbugs of all skill levels are welcome to join Park Ranger Jamie Cameron, whose former career as a photojournalist and newspaper editor has equipped him with some helpful tips on composition – whether you shoot with a phone or a large format SLR. We’ll meet at the bathhouse breezeway at the Paddy’s Creek Area at 10 a.m.

Date of Event:
Sun, 11/24/2019 - 10:00am to 11:00am
Start Location:
Paddy's Creek Area breezeway

Follow in the footsteps of the Overmountain Men as they traveled from the frontier to the frontline of the Revolutionary War. The guided hike will follow a section of Lake James State Park’s Overmountain Victory Trail as it shadows the original route that was used to ultimately reach the Battle of Kings Mountain. Join Ranger Wade Engels for a step back in time. The hike will begin at 9:30 a.m. from the Holly Discovery Trail parking lot.

Date of Event:
Mon, 11/25/2019 - 9:30am to 10:30am
Start Location:
Holly Discovery Trail parking lot