Click the links below to view information about activities for this park.
|Education and Events|
Boating: Pedal boats and canoes are available for rent. Contact the visitor center for days and hours of operations. Privately owned boats and watercraft may access Lake Norman from the boat launch area located at the south end of the park. Use of the area is free, but cars must leave the parking area by the park's closing time.
Family Tent/Trailer Camping: Tent pads, picnic tables and grills are available at 32 sites. Occupancy is limited to one family or six people per site. Park gates are locked at the posted closing hours. Campers may not leave the park after closing or before 8 a.m. except in an emergency. The Family Campground is open from March 15th through November 30th.
Group Tent Camping: Walk-in group campsites may be reserved by organized groups for a fee. Campers without reservations must confirm site availability with park staff before occupying a site. No less than 7 or more than 25 people are permitted on each site. Drinking water and restrooms are available nearby; picnic tables and a fire ring are provided at each site. The Group Campground is open from April through November.
Community Building: A community building located near the group camping area may be rented for events. The facility has a large meeting room, kitchen facilities, restrooms and a fireplace. The building may be occupied between 8 a.m. and a half hour before park closing. Contact the park office to reserve the facility.
Education and Events: Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about Lake Norman State Park. To arrange a special exploration of Lake Norman State Park for your group or class, contact the park office.
Educational materials about Lake Norman State Park have been developed for grades 4-6 and are correlated to North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The Lake Norman program introduces students to aquatic organisms. The program also focuses on water quality and resource management, demonstrating how watersheds should be managed to maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems and drinking water. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators. To learn more about environmental education or to search our database of upcoming workshops, click here.
Fishing: Popular fish in Lake Norman include crappie, bluegill and yellow perch, as well as striped, largemouth and white bass. The smaller park lake also has some choice fishing spots. Regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission apply for both lakes.
Alder Trail: Begin this easy 0.8 mile loop near the Visitor Center. The trail crosses the picnic area, circles the peninsula between Norwood and Hicks creeks, and then skirts the edge of the lake. Take a short side path to the dam and view the spillway and gates that control the lake's water level before returning to the trailhead.
Lake Shore Trail: The trailhead for this moderate but lengthy 5.0 mile trail is located near the Cove Picnic area, off of Shortleaf Lane. The trail follows the lakeshore, passes by the family campground and swimming area and returns to the trailhead. Take the Short Turn trail to cut your hiking distance roughly in half. To add another 1.3 miles, do an 'out and back' on the Group Camp Spur Trail.
Itusi Trail: Hiking is also allowed on the Itusi Trail, although hikers must yield to mountain bikers using this trail. The Itusi Trail is not just a mountain bike trail - it is designed for hikers as well.
Itusi Trail: Designed, built and maintained by volunteers, this 30.5-mile mountain bicycle and hiking trail winds through mature hardwood forests and offers a unique experience. Novices as well as accomplished riders will enjoy the gentle but lengthy climbs of this single track trail. To protect the Itusi Trail from damage, the trail will be closed whenever conditions are too wet to allow riders. Accordingly, riders should contact the park prior to arrival to confirm that the trail is open.
Hiking is also allowed on the Itusi Trail, although hikers must yield to mountain bikers using this trail.
Picnicking: There are three picnic areas at Lake Norman. One is located near the swimming area and accessible fishing pier, one is near the entrance and another is on a ridge across the cove from the swimming area. All have restrooms, tables and grills.
Swimming: A swim area is located in the south area of the park at the end of State Park Road near an accessible fishing pier and the pier picnic area. The complex includes a 125-yard-long sand beach, parking area and bathhouse with concession stand, restrooms, changing stalls, warm showers and lockers. The concession stand is only open from noon until 5:30 p.m. on Spring and Fall weekends. The park charges a fee to swim only when lifeguards are present. For more information see the "Facilities & Fees" page.
Lake Norman: Rules pertinent to the swim complex: