Lake James State Park »  Ecology
Mountain Bike Trails are Open today/A section of Mills Creek Trail is CLOSED/
Low Water Level at Lake James Swimming Area
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The mountain bike trails at Lake James are open. Accordingly, riders should contact the park prior to arrival to confirm that the trail is open. When trails are open riders are reminded to adhere to the directional signs while they ride the trail. The direction of the mountain bike trails was changed on July 1, 2015.
A section of the Mills Creek Trail will be closed off for the remainder of summer due to construction of the new tent campground at the Paddy's Creek Area.
Due to the ongoing drought, the water level at Lake James is more than 1-and-1/2 feet below normal. This affects the park swimming area which now has a water depth of less than three feet at the swim line.
Updated: 2015-09-03 12:45:51
The Paddy's Creek Area concessions stand and canoe/kayak rentals will be open on weekends only.
The swim beach is open today from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.; be advised that the water level is low.
The Long Arm Camping Areas are now open and are only accessible by boat.
September gate hours: 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. (Campground gate is open until 10 p.m.)
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The Paddy's Creek Area concession stand will be open weekends only through October. Canoes and kayaks may be rented from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on weekends when the concession stand is open. The swim beach is open daily through September 30.
The boat-in only Long Arm Camping Areas are now open. You must have a reservation to camp in them and the only way to access them is by water. More information is available via the reservation system or by calling the park office at 828-584-7728.
Please note that the park closes at 9 p.m. It is unlawful to be in the park after hours.
The Catawba River Area Campground is open and campground gates close at 10 p.m.
Updated: 2015-08-21 07:23:19
Plant & Animal » Checklists
Steep, forested ridges covered with mixed hardwoods, pines and hemlocks dominate the landscape.
Wildflowers are abundant, and the clear waters of Lake James reflect different types of vegetation in
Wildflowers commonly seen in the park include pink lady slipper, Jack-in-the-pulpit, passion flower,
Indian pipe and cardinal flower. Mountain laurel, rhododendron and flame azalea are also abundant in the
Deer, flying squirrel, red and gray fox, rabbit, muskrat and mink all reside at Lake James State Park.
Waterfowl - including green heron, belted kingfisher, mallard and Canada goose - enjoy the park's large body
of water. The skies are also home to pileated woodpeckers, hawks and owls. Reptiles include eastern box
turtle and fence lizard, while amphibians - including northern red salamanders, eastern red-spotted newts
and tree frogs - frequently may be found along park trails.