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General Information

Lakes James State Park
Copyright: - North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation
Lakes James State Park
Description - Lake James is a man-made lake as the result of the creation of three dams. The lake is named for James B Duke, founder of Duke Power Company. It has approximately 5 miles of shoreline and over 564 acres of land. Over 220,000 people visit the park each year to camp, swim, picnic, fish or hike to beautiful vistas of the Black Mountain Range.

Park Hours: November-February 8 am-6 pm; March, October 8 am - 7 pm; April, May, September 8 am - 8 pm; June-August 8 am - 9 pm. Office hours: 8 am-5 pm Monday through Friday. Gates will remain locked, except in emergency situations, when the park is not in operation. Please plan accordingly. The park is closed Christmas Day.

Recreation - There are four hiking trails leading to various destinations along Lake James.

The park offers twenty picnic sites each with tables, trash receptacles and outdoor grills. Drinking water and restrooms are located nearby. A picnic shelter with 12 tables is available for group gatherings. Use of the shelter is free of charge unless reservations are requested.

There is no group camping but there are 20 sites for backpack camping 150 to 300 yards from the parking lot. Each campsite provides a fireplace with grill, a picnic table and tent space. Water is available from nearby faucets located every five sites. The washhouse is near the parking lot. Campsites are available for a modest fee and on a first-come basis. Camping is available March 15th through November 30th.

Fishing and boating are major attraction of this park. A number of nearby launching sites and marinas offer boats for rent while the park offers canoe rental from the concession stand from June 1 through Labor Day.

Park rangers are available for information about the lake and the surrounding area. Environmental Educational Learning Experience (EELE)--Water Life-Grades 2, 3, and 4. Introduces students to a lakeshore environment, focusing on the plants and animals that live there. Major concepts covered include: lakeshore, habitats, aquatic sampling, aquatic plants and animals and stewardship.

Pisgah National Forest is just moments away from this lovely state park. Pisgah offers endless opportunities for camping, hiking, viewing scenery and wildlife, picnicking, swimming and much more.

Climate - Winter daytime temperatures range from 36 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 4 Celsius). Summer daytime temperatures range from 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 26 Celsius). Spring and Fall daytime temperatures range from 71 to 73 (20's Celsius). The state has a fairly wet climate with an average precipitation for this area averaging slightly less than 44 inches (112 centimeters).

Location - The park is located in Burke and McDowell counties, seven miles northeast of Marion on NC 126. From I-40, take the Nebo/Lake James Exit #90, head north, cross US 70 and follow the signs to the park.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: David (Morganton, NC)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Lake James is a semi-mountain lake with fairly clean waters. The lake is heavily trafficed on the weekends,. It has some beautiful views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, and there are many small islands on which to camp. There are no nearby resturants. The Lake has several marinas, which should have whatever you need if you forget to bring something with you. The people at the marinas are friendly and helpful. It would be a good idea to take a map of the lake, or bring someone with you that knows the lake. It is a sprawling lake and could be easy to get lost for a novice boater. If you like to fish there are sun perch, several species of bass and walleye. The fishing os great sometimes, then sometimes not so great. However the fish taken can be eaten without much worry considering that the lake has fairly clean water. It is the first lake on the Catawba River. I hope that you enjoy yourself if you decide to visit.

More Information

Contact Information:
Lake James State Park, P.O. Box 340 , Nebo, NC, 28761, Phone: 828-652-5047, Fax: 828-659-8911
, lajasp@icu2.net

Additional Information:
Asheville Area - Spectacular mountain scenery, beautiful rushing waters, countless museums, historical sites, state and national lands, cultural events and the famous Biltmore Estate are concentrated in this area.
Mountain Region - Experience North Carolina's Mountain Region where two of America's most visited national parks reside, where thousands of acres of national and state forestland sliced by rushing waters dominate the landscape, and where visits can relive the luxurious past of America's industrial birth.
North Carolina Lakes & Reservoirs - The lakes and reservoirs in North Carolina range from huge reservoirs to small lakes. Many of the lakes are surrounded by campgrounds, picnic areas and trails. Some of the larger lakes have State Parks along their shores while others fall within the National Forest lands.
North Carolina State Parks - North Carolina's State Parks offer wonderful beach camping to mountain wilderness camping. There are hiking trails in all sorts of forest types and countless fishing opportunities. The entire state, from the mountain to the piedmont area to the coast is rich in history and well highlighted at the parks.

Lake James State Park - Official agency Website


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