Attention: Bike Trail Users

Bike trails are closed at times for construction, poor trail conditions due to weather, or other reasons, for both visitor safety and protection of the trail and natural resources. Trails are expensive to construct, maintain and repair. Disregarding trail closures results in:

  • Delaying or prolonging construction or repair;
  • Damaging the trails, incurring significant costs and further closure time for additional repair; and
  • Endangering yourself, state park staff 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.


Cliffs of the Neuse State Park offers paddling on the Neuse River (personal watercraft only) and on the park's swim lake (rental boats only).

Paddling on the Neuse River

One paddling launch managed by the park is located 6 miles upriver from the park, the NC Highway 111 South Broadhurst Bridge access, located at the intersection of River Road and Mince Hill Road below the bridge (GPS: 35.2609, -77.9070). Inside the park, there is a paddling launch at the end of the 350-Yard Trail, by the Cliffs Overlook parking area. The final launch or take-out is located 2.5 miles downriver in the town of Seven Springs and is managed by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. The address is 100-B Main Street in Seven Springs, (GPS: 35.2287, -77.8460).

Launching from the Broadhurst Bridge access and putting out at the NCWRC access in Seven Springs allows paddlers to enjoy a beautiful 8-mile moderate stretch of the Neuse River that leads them through the park. This trip is suggested only for experienced paddlers, and we advise that paddlers check in at the park visitor center for the latest river conditions and to advise park staff of their float plan.

Common sights along the river include bald eagles, river otters, and various waterfowl. The Neuse River also provides abundant fishing opportunities. On standard flow conditions, the 8-mile trip typically takes about 3 hours.

Paddling on the Swim Lake

To paddle on the swim lake, visitors must rent a boat from the park. Personal watercraft are prohibited to limit the spread of invasive aquatic species.

Boat rentals are available seasonally, with a daily and hourly schedule dependent on staffing. Please check the park home page for the latest status or contact the park prior to your visit to confirm whether boat rentals are available during your visit. We offer canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, and stand-up paddleboards. The cost is $10 per equipment per hour; we accept cash only. With a valid Annual Pass or the Four-Wheel-Drive Beach Annual Pass, you can redeem 1-hour boat rentals for up to six people.


Cliffs of the Neuse State Park has an 11-acre swim lake, fed by a natural spring.

The swim lake is available seasonally, with a daily and hourly schedule dependent upon staffing. If the park is short on staff during the summer season, the swim lake will be open for swimming only and sometimes only the shallow end. Please check the park home page or contact the park prior to your visit to confirm whether the swim lake is open during your visit.

All visitors must have a swim band to access the swim lake. The cost is $6 for adults ages 13 or older; $4 for children ages 3 to 12; and free for toddlers ages 2 or younger. We accept cash only. Swim fees are not included in overnight camping fees. If you have a valid Annual Pass or Four-Wheel-Drive Beach Pass, you can redeem swim bands for six people. The sale of swim bands ends at 5 p.m. Lifeguards will alert visitors to begin exiting the water at 5:45 p.m.

Alcohol and other illegal substances are strictly prohibited. Coolers and ice chests are also prohibited. Please treat our lifeguards with respect and follow all rules and regulations. Otherwise, your right to swim will be revoked by park staff, and you will be asked to leave the swimming area.

Round-style inflatable floats, pool noodles, and toddler swim rings are permitted. Rectangular lounge-style floats and large-style floats that do not have an opening in the middle are prohibited. All floats must be rinsed off in the showers in the locker rooms prior to entering the water to help limit the spread of invasive aquatic species.