Lake James State Park »  History
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: 2015-08-26 14:47:20
Starting Aug. 20, the Paddy's Creek Area concessions stand will be open on weekends only.
The swim beach is open today from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
The Long Arm Camping Areas are now open and are only accessible by boat.
August 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
Located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, between the towns of Marion and Morganton, Lake James is
1,200 feet above sea level. The lake was created between 1916 and 1923 with the construction of dams
across the Catawba River and two tributaries, Paddy Creek and Linville River. These impoundments were
connected by a broad canal to form a 6,812-acre body of water. Named for James B. Duke, founder of Duke
Power Company, Lake James has been a hydroelectric unit for the power company since the early 1900s.
Lake James is one of the most recent additions to the North Carolina State Parks system. A result of
strong local support and the efforts of area legislative delegations, the park was established in 1987 by
the North Carolina General Assembly. Funds were appropriated for the purchase of 565 acres of land and
for the initial phase of facility development. Lake James was the first park in the state's history to
receive funds for development and operation upon its acquisition.