Lake James NC

Looking for a new spot to camp and paddle. Any one with info on Lake James in western NC?. I know there is a state park near the lake. Any other camping options? Where are the kayak friendly put ins? Is the Lake a power boat headache? Looking to set up an event for 10-16 people. Was thinking of doing Jocasse, but this is a few hors closer to our location. Any help would be great. I checked out the pnet launch map, but not alot of info. Thanks.

I don’t know lake James. Sometime
you might check out Lake Calderwood. Few powerboats, no second homes, deep fiord like character. And Calderwood is seldom drawn down. There’s a scruffy little camping area by hwy 129, or you can camp on Lake Santeetla at Joyce Kilmer.

There is no camping on Lake James
except in the state park (the older one), and that is tent camping. The new state park (“Paddys Creek”) doesn’t have any camping.

The Lake is a beautiful clear one, with 75 miles of shoreline and the whole north side is wildernesss state park. the south side has high dollar homes, and there are also a couple of full time RV parks.

There are four free boat ramps to launch from and several of them have nice clean rest rooms.

Our favorite is “Canal Bridge” and the others are “Black Bear”, “Hidden Cove” and “The Linville river”

This time of year there will be a lot of power boat traffic and lake lice on the weekends, but only a hand full of power boat fishermen during the week, but once school is out it is generally a zoo.

If you decide to go and want some directions and other info let me know and I’ll help you out.

There is one section of the Lake right now that is all muddied from a clear cut followed by a forest fire on the mountain, and the run off from the recent heavy rains created a mess. - another negative against “Clear Cutting” !

If you do go please remember that the power boaters are paying for the ramps with their fishing licenses, so stay out of their way as they launch. They are in the water in a few minutes while it takes most paddlers much longer. We have never had a problem with any of them and you will find that they are very friendly.

jack L

How far is it form Hendersonville?
I might want to meet you and paddle when we a visiting there.

My trip to Lake James

About two hours, just guessing.
We sure would like to show you around our home lake.

Are you still planning on entering the two day French Broad River Classique this weekend?

I heard that there was a big right up about it in the Asheville newspaper.

If so we will see you there. I’ll be the oldest old fart there, and you can’t miss me. I’ll be hobbling around on my bone on bone knee, and jabbering with all our younger racing friends.

jack L

Thanks for the advice and trip info. Most likely looking to do a trip in mid june-mid July. Calendar is pretty full in May - early June with my local club events, as well as events with the Raleigh crowd.

Jack L may contact you sometime in the future about planning a Florida trip for next winter.

Be glad to help
any way we can.

jack L

Hello. I’m taking my family camping at Lake James state park early june and I was wondering if you now any places that rent kayaks? I’ve never been there but, I would love my family to enjoy sometime on lake. I’d rather not rent a pontoon boat but that seems to be all i can find.


  • Chip

The state park rents canoes, but no

We will be paddling there tomorrow, so I’ll double check at the new state park.

I know they have a bunch of canoes, but I don’t recall seeing any kayaks.

Jack L

JackL, no camping in the natl forest?
JackL, I was wondering about Lake James also. I thought I had heard that a national forest (Pisgah?) borders part of the lake and you could pitch a tent there. Is that not true? It sounded appealing.

G in NC

Most of the northern side of the Lake is

– Last Updated: May-25-11 5:17 AM EST –

now state park, and there is no camping (thanks to the power boaters who trashed the good camp sites) Yes you can camp in the national forest, but there is very little of it, (probably none at all) that borders the lake.
All of the Islands are now off limits for overnight camping, but are still open for day use

Jack L

Thanks for the update, Jack.

Kayak rentals at lake james

– Last Updated: Aug-03-12 1:04 PM EST – covers that area . They cover lake james all the way to badin lake. They have sit -in and sit-on top fishing kayaks and as well as smaller kayaks like old town rush and otter.