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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.


We are waiting for sunset to start this activity designed to compliment our Kids in the Creek. Catch sheets will be used to collect and identify different species of adult aquatic insects. These species are the same macroinvertebrates that are found in the creeks flowing into Lake James. A discussion of macroinvertebrate lifecycles and fun facts will be included with the collection activities. We'll meet at the Paddy's Creek Area bathhouse breezeway at 8:30 p.m. and the program will end by 9:30 p.m.

Date of Event:
Thu, 08/15/2019 - 8:30pm to 9:30pm
Start Location:
Paddy's Creek Area bathhouse breezeway

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:
Fri, 08/16/2019 - 10:00am to 11:15am
Start Location:
Paddy's Creek Area East Picninc Shelter

Throughout written history, owls have always held a special place in people's hearts. In spite of our desire to know them, owls remain mysterious. They are also relatively common in the forests and fields of western North Carolina. Once you recognize the myriad sounds owls make, a whole new world of appreciation opens. Ranger Jamie Cameron will lead a group of curious owl-seekers on a short hike along the Lake Channel Overlook trail at the Catawba River Area side of the park. We'll start from the campground parking lot at 8:30 p.m. Bring a headlamp or flashlight, binoculars if you have them and a pair of comfortable hiking shoes for this 1-hour program.

Date of Event:
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 8:30pm to 9:30pm
Start Location:
Catawba River Area campground parking lot

As the first hints of fall’s inevitable approach blow in from the Blue Ridge, it’s time to start getting excited about hiking season. The Paddy’s Creek Trail is a leisurely trek along the Lake James shoreline that starts next to the Paddy’s Creek Area bathhouse and ends at the wooden bridge. Park Ranger Clay Veasey will accompany the group and point out items of interest along the way. The hike is two miles round-trip so wear comfortable hiking shoes, dress for the weather and bring some water. We’ll meet at 10 a.m. in the bathhouse breezeway.

Date of Event:
Thu, 08/22/2019 - 10:00am to 11:00am
Start Location:
Paddy's Creek Area bathhouse breezeway

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 a deadly. Join Karen Johnson, Lake James State Park’s resident mushroom enthusiast, for a leisurely stroll along the Sandy Cliff Overlook Trail 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.

Date of Event:
Fri, 08/23/2019 - 10:00am to 11:00am
Start Location:
Catawba River Area breezeway

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