Lake James North Carolina?????

Found Lake James while surfing for Chimney Rock, anyone ever paddle there? developed? camping? Any clues would be appreciated.

My boys and I camped there last season and paddled the lake several days. There are developed areas and un-developed areas. We camped in the State Park. Nice paddling with lots to visit.

Lake James is near to where JackL lives and he goes there for some of his practice. I am sure that he could fill you in on much more detail.

Happy Paddling,


can’t wait
to get up there…It is amazing how many paddling opportunities there are in NC for flatwater and ocean…not to mention fast rivers which I probably won’t be doing


It’s the first of 7 lakes

– Last Updated: May-08-06 8:55 AM EST –

in the Catawba River chain. It's fairly fjord-like with beautiful mountain views. There's development on the south side where many put-in spots can be found, but the west and north sides of the lake are all undeveloped and part of state park land. The last time I was out with JackL & Nancy, we saw a bald eagle. Not much boat traffic to speak of, but it'll pick up on the weekends from now until October as the weather warms. Lake James is just about as pretty as Jocassee and if you didn't know any better, you'd think you were in the Adirondacks.

That is one our favorite local
paddling lakes, but like all of them it is best in the winter when the power boaters and jet skiers are in front of their fireplaces.

I like Watauga Lake, but I like Lake James better.

There are at least four free developed ramps with good parking around the lake, and last year the state, (Lake James State Park) acquired the whole north end of it so it will stay pristene and undeveloped for ever.

One of our favorie put-ins is the Canal bridge Access.

If you put in there, head to the opposisite shore, turn right, go under the bidge and then follow the left shore line around all the bays and coves and you can go for miles with just forested shoreline .

There are lots of good beaches to pull up on for a lunch break, but the state park has banned overnight camping on them until they can get some places developed.

I am completely in agreement with the state park, since many of the good camp sites were just being trashed.

The two forks of the Catawaba River flow into the lake, and they are clear and clean, and the Linville River does also.

Unfortunately we have seen far too much green algae on the bottom in the clear water, which tells me that there is a lot of fertilizer run-off coming down from the christmas tree growers in the high country, but it is still very clear for this neck of the woods.

If you want some directions, let me know where you will be coming from and I’ll give some to you.

I would keep away from there once school is out.



could we do a Jocasse type get-together
there this fall? just PLEASE pick a week that I’m off :slight_smile:

From what I could tell and now know from the above posts (thanks all!!!) Lake James will rapidly be surrounded by condes (except the park land of course) and I want to paddle it soon to see it as it is now and now how it will be…I saw the lake near Chimney Rock, unbelievable the number of homes there.

Since we are only three quarters…
of an hour from there, I have never looked into the camping, but I’ll check out the state park and see if they have sites at the main park.

If not, you or any one else can either camp in my front yard, (on the trout stream)or stay in the bunk house and we could commute from here.

The only problem with us is we can’t plan that far in advance, (too much racing going on which we do book mark for).

One of my many daughters who lives in Boone has never been there and would like to go there also, so I imagine sometime within the next month we will be going.

It would be on a Sat or Sunday.

I’ll gladly give you a shout if you would like to join us.

I do two types of paddling there:

-Training where I would rather just be by myself and with my wife, and then nature/ pleasure paddling where I go the pace of the others unless they are fast, and then I go the pace of the slowest.


Lake James State Park

– Last Updated: May-09-06 10:34 AM EST –

The state park does have campsites. They are very nice, well maintained. If I remember correctly, they even had a stash of firewood that you can use if you're camping.

"Twenty backpack campsites are located 150 to 300 yards from the parking lot. Two of these sites are reserved for persons with disabilities. Each campsite provides a fire pit, picnic table and tent space. Approximately every five sites apart, a water faucet is located, and a wash house with hot showers is accessible near the parking lot. Campsites are available from March 15 through November 30 for a modest fee on a first-come basis."

Do be mindful of any no trespassing signs on state park or private property. Last time I was there we were told by some folks from the state park that we were not supposed to even stop on the beaches for lunch, rest break, etc. on state park property on the northern shore of the lake.
As jackl said some areas were just being trashed. I whole heartily agree about their decision to ban overnight camping, but I thought they were a little strict about telling us to leave during a lunch break.

Here's a link to some pictures I took there while on a work related paddling trip:
The Lake James pictures are from PB050001 through PB50016.


looks like you had a huge paddle group there!

i did the yahoo map, its only 80 miles from roan mountain…unless i die on this weekends AT hike i plan on paddling Lake James Mon. afternoon…are you free then JackL ?? no training paddling for me :frowning:

A private e-mail
is on the way.



got it

It was a good group.
I think we had around 15-18 people with us that day. Most of the paddling trips that our Parks, Recreation and Tourism Dept. does fill up pretty quickly. We are usually limited to around that number because our trailer will hold 18 kayaks.

Hope you get to paddle on Monday. Lake James is a cool place. I’ve done a scout trip there during the week before and it was really quiet. I have heard that the weekends during the summer can be trying though.