North Carolina State Outdoors

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State Parks
Camping and Hiking
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North Carolina State Parks

Mount Mitchell State Park
Explore miles of hiking trails and reward yourself with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ascend the highest peak east of the Mississippi, rising to 6,684 feet and watch the world take on a new perspective from the observation tower. Visit the museum and learn about the natural and cultural history of North Carolina's first state park. The famished hiker or the hungry tourist can enjoy a relaxing meal in the restaurant. Parking, restrooms at the restaurant and at the concession stand are accessible. Pathways and picnic shelters are not accessible. For information call: (828)675-4611


Lake James State Park
Spend a leisurely day at the lake. Swim in the designated swimming area, picnic by the lakeshore or spend an evening in one of the campsites. Hike through wooded rolling hills at the base of Linville Gorge and enjoy scenic vistas of the Black Mountain Range. For information call: (828)652-5047


Eno River State Park
The Eno River valley is rich in biological and cultural resources, with hardwood forests lining the river banks. Test your canoeing skills in the swirling rapids. Try your luck fishing along the river bank or stroll across the swinging bridge for a hike through the woods. Backpack primitive camping offers refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. For information call: (919)383-1686


Carolina Beach State Park
Spot the rare Venus flytrap and other species of insect-eating plants. Wind your way through a variety of habitats along intriguing trails and stop to identify more than 30 species of coastal trees, shrubs and flowering plants. Our marina will enhance your enjoyment of the Cape Fear River and adjoining waterway where excellent fishing and boating await the sports enthusiast. For information call: (910)458-8206


Jockey's Ridge State Park
Go fly a kite on the highest sand dune on the East Coast. Orville and Wilbur Wright were the first to take advantage of the area's prevailing winds, ranging from 10 to 15 miles per hour. The ridge, a favorite spot for playing in the sand, offers an exhilarating view of coastal North Carolina. The visitor center offers fascinating exhibits about this magnificent pile of sand. For information call: (252)441-7132


Camping and Hiking in North Carolina

Mount Jefferson State Natural Area
Broaden your horizons with scenic vistas and colorful displays of mountain flora. You can see forever on a clear day. Stroll the short nature trail through the magnificent forest, a National Natural Landmark. Hiking Trails--Two short scenic trails give hikers a spectacular view of the New River and the surrounding mountain tops. The Rhododendron Trail is a 1.1 mile self-guiding, nature trail of moderate difficulty. The walk provides information about the natural history of the park. It also takes you to Luther's Rock overlook, which offers a view of the New River. Summit Trail is .3 miles and is strenuous. Bike Trails--None Bridle Trails--None For information call: (336)246-9653


Hanging Rock State Park
Visit the "mountains away from the mountains" and choose your accommodations from cabins to campsites. Sparkling mountain streams, waterfalls and cascades travel over rugged terrain. Encounter more than 300 species of mountain plants along miles of nature and hiking trails. The observation tower atop Moore's Knob offers rewarding panoramic views. Hiking Trails--There are 11 trails forming over 18 miles of scenic views at Hanging Rock State Park. Chestnut Oak Nature Trail is 0.7 miles and easy; Cook's Wall is 2.2 miles and moderate; Hanging Rock Trail is a 1.2 mile hike and moderate; Indian Creek Trail is 3.7 miles and moderate; Hidden Falls is 0.4 miles and easy; Window Falls Trail is 0.6 miles and moderate; Lower Cascades Trail is 0.3 miles and easy; Moore's Wall Trail is 4.2 miles and strenuous; Tory's Den Trail is 4.2 miles and a moderate hike; Upper Cascades Trail is 0.2 miles and easy; Wolf Rock Loop is 1.9 miles and moderate. Bike Trails-None. Bridle Trails--There is a bridle trail starting at the park boundary off NC 66 on Charlie Young Road (SR 2028), which heads south so riders cover a 4.8 mile loop. While hiking is allowed on the bridle trail, horses are not permitted on the hiking trails. Group Camping--A special undeveloped area is designated for group camping. Reservations for the group sites can be made through the park office. Backpack Camping-None. Youth Camping-None. Canoe Camping-None. RV Camping--Many of the tent/trailer campsites can accommodate RV's, but no hook-ups are provided. Tent/Trailer Camping--There are 73 wooded campsites. Hook-ups are not provided. Two central washhouses provide water, showers and flush-type toilets. Maximum is 6 people. Campsites are available on a first-come/first-served basis. Primitive Camping-None. A short road from the family campground leads to six rustic family vacation cabins, each accommodating six people. Fully equipped, each cabin has two bedrooms, kitchen and living room. During the spring and fall, cabins may be rented by the night, with a minimum of two nights. Summer rentals are available by the week only. For information call: (336)593-8480


Morrow Mountain State Park
View the skeletal remains of a once-mighty range of peaks. Located in the Uwharrie Mountains along the Pee Dee River and Lake Tillery, Morrow Mountain features miles of mountain trails to wander on foot or horseback. Visit the historic Kron House, greenhouse, and hospital of an early 19th century physician. Stay for a while in a cabin or a campsite and enjoy a dip in the pool or a boat ride on the lake. Hiking Trails--There are about 16 miles of hiking trails throughout the park. Trails lead through much of the secluded undeveloped areas of the park. A half-mile long nature trail depicts a great deal of the natural history of the area. Laurel (0.6 mi., easy), Morrow Mountain (3.0 mi., moderate), Hattaway Mountain (2.0 mi., strenuous), combine to make a 5.6 mile easy to strenuous grouping of trails. Three Rivers (0.6 mi., easy) and Fall Mountain (4.1 mi., moderate) combine to make nearly five miles worth of trails that are easy to moderate, and offer views of the Kron House and the river. Rocks (2.6 mi.) is an easy round-trip trail, with Sugarloaf Mountain being a 2.8 mile and strenuous trek. Mountain Loop is an easy.8 mile walk. Bike Trails-None. Bridle Trails--The extensive trail network at Morrow Mountain offers 16 miles of bridle trails, including an 8-mile loop. The trails wander through the ancient Uwharrie mountain range along small streams and beside the shore of Lake Tillery. Group Camping-- The group tent camping area is located near the river and is accessed by a gravel loop road. Six sites, each with picnic tables and fire circle, provide a wilderness camping experience for organized groups. Drinking water and pit toilets are nearby. Reservations are required for use of the area. Backpack Camping--See Primitive Camping. Youth Camping--see Group Camping. Canoe Camping-None. RV Camping--Many of the tent/trailer sites can accommodate RVs. However, there are no hook ups. Tent/Trailer Camping--There are 106 drive-to tent/trailer campsites with tables and grills. Water and a showerhouse are centrally located. Sites are available on a first-come basis. Area C is open year-round, while areas A and B are open March 15 - November 30. Primitive Camping- Backpack into the woods for camping in a wilderness setting. A two-mile hike from the park office leads to the primitive campground which has four sites accommodating six people each. Pit toilets are provided in the camping area, but drinking water and all other supplies must be carried out. Fires are not permitted. A backpack camping permit is required and must be obtained in advance from park staff. All trash must be packed out. Six cabins are available from March 1st to November 30th. To reserve a cabin, which accommodates up to six people and during June, July, August, cabins may be rented by the week only. During the spring and fall weekend rentals are allowed with a two-night stay. No pets are allowed. For information call: (704)982-4402


Raven Rock State Park
Contemplate the processes of nature among an abundance of wildflowers. The world is at your feet atop this massive 152-foot high rock outcrop, which juts out at a 45-degree angle over the Cape Fear River. Fish in small clear streams that have cut beds through soil and rock in their age-old rush to join the river. Float your boat to one of our canoe campsites where advance reservations may be made. Hiking Trails--Scenic trails invite you to journey into the park's interior. More than 12 miles of hiking trails let you wander through a variety of terrain. Raven Rock Loop Trail (2.1 miles, easy) travels through a hardwood forest. Wooden stairs going down the face of the river bluff lead to the base of Raven Rock, where the river bank provides a place to examine the area beneath the overhang. A stone balcony along the trail overlooks the river and the flood plains beyond. Connecting trails (easy to moderate) include the self-guiding American Beech Nature (0.5 mi.), Little Creek Loop (1.4 mi.), Fish Traps (1.2 mi.) and Northington's Ferry (2.2 mi.). Campbell Creek Loop (5.1 mi.) and Lanier Falls (0.4 mi.) combine to make an easy to moderate round trip. Bike Trails-None. Bridle Trails--Seven miles of equestrian adventure can be found along the East Loop and West Loop bridle trails on the north side of the river. Horses are not permitted on the hiking trails. Group Camping--Little Creek Loop Trail leads to the group wilderness camp, some 2.2 miles from the parking area. Located along the Cape Fear River, the area offers tent pads, fire circles and pit toilets and accommodates up to 200 people. Reservations are recommended for group camping. Camping is available all year. Backpack Camping--Follow Campbell Creek Loop Trail to reach the family wilderness campground, approximately 2.5 miles from the parking area. Five sites, each accommodating four persons, offer tent pads, fire circles, and an outhouse. Obtain a permit from the park office. Sites are obtained on a first-come-first-serve basis. All vehicles of campers must be registered at the park office. Camping is available year-round. Youth Camping-None. Canoe Camping--Six campsites along the Cape Fear Canoe Trail offer accommodations for canoeists. Located beside the river in a low lying area, these sites include tent pads, fire circles and an outhouse. The canoe camping area is about two miles from the park office and sites may be reserved by canoeists. Camping is available year-round. RV Camping-None. Tent/Trailer Camping-None. Primitive Camping-See Backpack Camping. For information call: (910)893-4888


Hammocks Beach State Park
Venture to Bear Island and be rewarded with vivid memories of one of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches on the Atlantic. Where loggerhead sea turtles come ashore under cover of darkness to nest above the tide line. Where adventuresome explorers discover marine life in tidal creeks and mudflats. Accessible only by private boat or passenger ferry, Hammocks may not be for everyone, but just the place for those who enjoy the challenges of relentless sun, sand, sea, and sky. Hiking Trails--There is a 3.8 mile, easy to walk beach strand leading from Bear Inlet to Bogue Inlet. Bike Trails--None Bridle Trails-None. Group Camping--There are three primitive campsites available on Bear Island. Reservations for these areas must be made in advance. Group campers must be organized groups. Limit 12 people per site. Camspites are available year-round. Backpack Camping--Fourteen primitive backpack campsites are located on Bear Island. Drinking water and showers are open from March 15th through December 1st. No fires are permitted on the island and camping is not permitted the night before, of, or immediately following a full moon in the summer to reduce the disturbance of nesting loggerhead sea turtles. Campsites are available on a first-come/first-serve basis. Access to all sites requires hiking. Contact the park office for more information. Campsites are available year-round. Youth Camping-None. Canoe Camping--There are four sites for canoe camping. RV Camping-None. Tent/Trailer Camping-None. Primitive Camping--See Group and Backpack Camping. For information call:(910)326-4881


Hunting and Fishing in North Carolina

New River State Park
Canoe more than 26 miles of the South Fork of the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world. The waterway is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River and American Heritage River. Embark upon this gentle river from any of three access points for fishing, picnicking and inspiring mountain scenery. Cast your line from the river banks and pull in tonight's dinner. The south and north forks of the river provide some of the best smallmouth and redeye bass fishing in the region. Trout fishing is excellent in the smaller, faster moving tributaries which are designated trout waters and are stocked regularly with rainbow and brown trout. Muskelunge have also been stocked. Regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission must be obeyed. For information call: (336)982-2587


Crowders Mountain State Park
Climb rugged peaks rising 800 feet above the surrounding countryside and watch raptors soar in the wind currents. Rocky ledges and outcrops are the perfect seats from which to view the panorama below. Travel park trails for a closer look at the highland environment. Fish from choice spots on the banks or try your luck from the seat of a canoe. The big catches around here are bass and bream. All regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission must be obeyed. For information call: (704)853-5375


Pilot Mountain State Park
Imagine a majestic pinnacle rising from out of nowhere, 1,400 feet above the surrounding countryside. Spend an evening canoe camping along the river or explore the adjoining woodland corridor on foot or horseback for a memorable view. Lake/Stream Fishing--Fishing is permitted in the Yadkin River for various sunfish and catfish and the occasional smallmouth bass. A current North Carolina fishing license is required and all regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission must be followed. For information call: (336)325-2355


William B. Umstead State Park
Take a leisurely stroll along a nature trail or a more extensive hike into the heart of the woodlands. The park includes representative examples of an oak-hickory forest, moist hardwood forest, and piedmont floodplain forest. For those who don't want to tour the park by foot, some trails are also designated for horseback or mountain bike use. Pack your picnic basket, paddle the lake, put up a tent (Thursdays - Mondays only), or bring your group to an organized camp. Refresh your spirit in this oasis of green in the midst of the high-tech Research Triangle Park. Lake Stream fishing is allowed on the lakes in both sections of the park except for the swimming areas. The most common catches are bass, bluegill, and crappie. For information call: (919)571-4170


Lake Waccamaw State Park
Discover one-of-a-kind aquatic animals found nowhere else on earth. The lake is home to the Lake Waccamaw killifish and a number of other unique fish and mollusks. Spend an evening in the primitive campground or enjoy a picnic under stately trees hung with Spanish moss. Lake/stream fishing is popular at Lake Waccamaw for white perch, bass, and bream. All regulations of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are enforced. For information call: (910)646-4748


Other North Carolina Outdoor activities

North Carolina also offers the following outdoor activities:
  • Boating
  • Bird Watching
  • Canoeing
  • Climbing
  • Golf
  • Horseback Riding
  • In-line Skating
  • Kayaking
  • Nature Watching
  • Swimming