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Events and Programs

Late afternoon at Lake James State Park
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Mountain Bike Trails are OPEN today   

Mountain bike trails are OPEN today, July 18th. The direction of the bike trails has changed.  Wimba trails will be going in a counter clockwise direction, and Tindo trails will be going in a clockwise direction. If date is more than 24 hours old, please call the park office at 828-584-7728 for the latest information.

 Last updated on: Thursday, July 18, 2019

Beach and Boat Rental Hours   

The beach at Paddy's Creek is open for the season from 10-6 each day. Boats are rented out of the concession stand from 10-4:30. Kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rentals are $7.00 per hour.

 Last updated on: Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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.


The waters and shoreline of Lake James is bursting with life and there’s no better way to explore than by boat. Park Ranger Clay Veasey 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.

Date of Event:
Wed, 08/07/2019 - 10:00am to 11:15am
Start Location:
Paddy's Creek Area West Picnic Shelter

Join us for a hike along the Paddy's Creek Trail to discover the world of six-legged insects. We will explore what makes organisms hexapods and the unique features that distinguish the different insect families, all while hunting for specimens from the different groups. Meet at the Holly Discovery Trail parking lot at 10 a.m.

Date of Event:
Thu, 08/08/2019 - 10:00am to 11:00am
Start Location:
Paddy's Creek Area Holly Discovery Trail parking lot

You can't have alcohol at the state park, but you can gaze at the heavens with a cold brew in your hand at the neighbor's place. Lake James State Park Suprtintendent Nora Coffey will be co-hosting with the Catawba Valley Astronomy Club for a night of star-gazing at Fonta Flora's Farmhouse Brewery at the old Whippoorwill Dairy Farm (just 1-mile northeast of the Paddy's Creek Area entrance at 6751 NC-126). Enjoy a cold beverage, learn some basic star-gazing tips, and experience the night sky like you've never seen it. There will be telescopes and binoculars set up for viewing the night sky, but feel free to bring your own if you have them. Bug spray and folding chairs are also recommended. The show starts at dusk (betweem 8:30 and 9 p.m.) and the brewery will stay open until 10:30 p.m. to accomodate us, so don't miss this rare opportunity. All ages are welcome. No need to register for this one. 

Date of Event:
Fri, 08/09/2019 - 8:30pm to 10:30pm
Start Location:
Fonta Flora's Farmhouse Brewery at Whippoorwill Farm

It’s the Year of the Snake according to North Carolina State Parks and the question on everyone’s mind is, “What the heck should I do if I see one?” We’re going to learn the answer to that very question during this interactive, exciting and unique program that will utilize snake scenarios to mimic everyday interactions with snake and how to react. Join Park Ranger Jamie Cameron in the Catawba River Area basement classroom at 9 a.m.

Date of Event:
Sun, 08/11/2019 - 9:00am to 10:00am
Start Location:
Catawba River Area basement classroom

Aquatic life in our creeks and rivers go far beyond the fish and crawdads you see with a casual glance. The ecosystem of moving water can be incredibly diverse, depending on water quality and other factors. At Lake James State Park we are lucky to have a waterway of fantastic biological diversity and this program will show participants many of the hidden animals that call Paddy's Creek home. Armed with nets, seines and buckets, participants will collect aquatic insects, crustaceans, fish, amphibians and more with park staff. This program is suitable for all ages, especially those who are will to get wet and have a great time. We will meet in the parking lot for the Holly Discovery Trail at the Paddy's Creek Area at 10 a.m. Wear clothes you don't mind getting wet and water shoes or waders if you have them.

Date of Event:
Thu, 08/15/2019 - 10:00am to 11:00am
Start Location:
Paddy's Creek Area Holly Discovery Trail parking lot

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