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Trails

Mountain Bike Trails are OPEN today   

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

 Last updated on: Friday, May 24, 2019

High Holiday Visitation Expected   

Near or above capacity crowds are expected Memorial Day weekend. This may mean long lines for facilities and boat rentals and unavailability of campsites and picnic tables.  Likewise, if the park reaches capacity, the front gate will be closed, and visitors will be asked to make alternate plans.

Please arrive early and keep your party together to increase chances of admittance and decrease possibility of being separated.
 

 Last updated on: Thursday, May 23, 2019

Swim Beach Open Starting May 1   

The swim beach at the Paddy's Creek Access reopened for the season on May 1. Lifeguards will be on duty starting May 25.

The concession stand and boat rentals will be available on Saturdays and Sundays through June 9 and daily after that.

Please call the park office at 828-584-7728 for additional information.

 Last updated on: Thursday, May 23, 2019

Trails

Taking a hike on the extensive trail system at Lake James State Park is a great way to enjoy the outdoors at your own pace. A walk in the spring when the air is scented with sweet wild azalea and rhododendron blossoms or a stroll in the fall when the leaves are ablaze in colors is tonic for the soul. 

Lake James has 15 miles of multi-use mountain biking trails with terrain suitable for riders of all skill levels. Cyclists are permitted on these trails specifically—not on hiking trails.


⇒  ATTENTION: BIKE TRAIL USERS

When trails are closed for construction, poor trail conditions due to weather or any other reason, they are closed both for visitor safety AND for the protection of the trail and natural resources. Trails are expensive to construct, maintain and repair. Disregarding trail closures results in:

  1. Delaying or proloning construction or repair;
  2. Damaging the trails, resulting in significant costs and further closure time for additional repair;
  3. Endangering yourself in addition to both state park and EMS staff who would work to get you out of harm's way if you are lost or hurt.

Thank you for respecting our park's natural resources, facilities and fellow park visitors.


 


East Wimba Loop
Location: Paddy's Creek Area

Description:

The trail is appropriate for mountain bikers of intermediate or advanced skill levels.


Surface: natural surface

Length:
4.40 miles
round trip
Difficulty:
moderate
Blaze:
Red circle

Fishing Pier
Location: Catawba River Area

Description:

A short walk to the Catawba River Area fishing pier.


Surface: natural surface

Length:
0.30 miles
one way
Difficulty:
easy
Blaze:
Blue square

Fox Den Loop
Location: Catawba River Area

Description:

This trail loops through mature forest with a thick canopy. It is an undulating track with a steep staircase up the highest pitch.


Surface: natural surface

Length:
2.25 miles
round trip
Difficulty:
moderate
Blaze:
Orange triangle

Holly Discovery Trail
Location: Paddy's Creek area

Description:

The trail is a flat, easy trek through riparian forest adjacent to Paddy's Creek.

The Lake James State Park TRACK Trail adventures (see kiosk at trailhead parking area) were designed for use on the Holly Discovery Trail, but they can be used anywhere within the park trail system. Be sure to check out the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, which can be accessed 150 yards south of the Holly Discovery Trail parking area.


Surface: natural surface, gravel

Length:
0.75 miles
round trip
Difficulty:
easy
Blaze:
red triangle

Homestead Trail
Location: Paddy's Creek Area

Description:

The trail is an excellent connector to the Paddy's Creek Trail for hikers who park in the mountain bike trail system parking lot.


Surface: natural surface

Length:
0.70 miles
one way
Difficulty:
easy
Blaze:
Blue triangle and white triangle

7321 N.C. 126
Nebo, NC 28761

828-584-7728
lake.james@ncparks.gov

 

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