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Park News

A view of the river at New River State Park
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Park News

Each of North Carolina’s state parks has special events during the year and news about facilities, trails, staff and park supporters. And, visitors are frequently finding new ways to explore a park’s unique cultural and natural resources. Check these pages to keep abreast of the news at your favorite parks.

39th Annual Canoe Race

The 39th Annual New River Canoe Race will take place on June 1st, 9:00 a.m.  All proceeds  go to support Friends of High Country State Parks’ mission to support our state parks. 

The event will begin at Zaloo’s Canoes in Jefferson, N.C. and travel five miles to the Wagoner Road Access of the New River State Park. This paddle route is calm with no white water. This is a family-friendly event. 

Ask a Ranger: What Does a Park Ranger Do?

In this episode of Ask a Ranger, we will delve into all the things a North Carolina Park Ranger does. Our guest is Superintendent Joe Shimel from New River State Park in Laurel Springs, N.C.


36th Annual Canoe Race!

The 36th Annual New River Canoe Race was a blast!  Great weather coupled with above normal water levels created ideal conditions for a fun day of racing on New River.  The race is coordinated by Friends of High Country State Parks and is a long running tradition of bringing families to paddle the river.  The race includes multiple categories for men, women, mixed, and families utilizing different water craft such as canoes, kayaks and longboats.  There were about 150 boat entries in the race from novice to champion levels.


Turchin Center for the Visual Arts - Takes Art to the Banks of the New River - May 5 – May 7, 2017, New River State Park, 221 Access

Map of North Carolina


Contact the park




U.S. 221 access
and visitor center

358 New River State Park Road
Laurel Springs, NC 28644

GPS: 36.46768, -81.34035


Wagoner access

1447 Wagoner Access Road
Jefferson, NC 28640

GPS: 36.415808, -81.387174


Kings Creek access

2250 Kings Creek Road
Piney Creek, NC 28663

GPS: 36.527628, -81.336359


Elk Shoals access

349 Methodist Camp Road
West Jefferson, NC 28694

GPS: 36.365324, -81.433277



  • December to February:
    8:00am to 6:00pm
  • March to April:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
  • May to September:
    7:00am to 10:00pm
  • October:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
  • November:
    7:00am to 8:00pm
  • Closed Christmas Day
  • Monday to Friday:
    8:00am to 5:00pm
  • Saturday to Sunday:
    10:00am to 3:00pm
  • Closed Christmas Day
  • Closed November 1 to March 31
  • April:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
  • May to September:
    8:00am to 9:00pm
  • October:
    8:00am to 8:00pm

The swim beach at Elk Shoals access is open from sunrise to sunset year-round.