State & National Parks Near Lake James
Lake James State Park
One of North Carolina's newest parks, this 3,500-acre state park on the shore of Lake James will soon be expanded by another 2,915 acres. Numerous outdoor activities for visitors are available, including sunbathing and swimming at the lake's shore; boating, water skiing and fishing on Lake James; camping and hiking on the park trails; and simply picnicking with family and friends. Two boat ramps, 20 backpack camping sites and washhouse with hot showers.
Mount Mitchell State Park
Located approximately one hour from Morganton, Mount Mitchell is the highest point in North Carolina and the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Visitors to this state park can stand 1.25 miles above sea level while viewing the skylines of Asheville and Charlotte, North Carolina and Johnson City, Tennessee.
Pisgah National Forest
Encompassing more than 500,000 acres of land along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest is known for its easy access to beautiful waterfalls, hiking, rock climbing and camping facilities. In the fall, the forest's Craggy Gardens is one of the best places to visit. The forest is home to the Linville Gorge Wilderness, which covers more than 12,000 acres, and is laced with trails that wind through thickets of mountain laurel and descend to the depths of Linville Gorge-one of the most rugged and scenic gorges in the East. From the gorge's rim, there is an awesome view of the Linville River 2,000 feet below.
South Mountain State Park
A destination for adventure seekers as well as those who just want to relax for a day, this wooded state park is one of North Carolina's most rugged. There are more than 40 miles of trails and an 18-mile mountain bike loop. Mountain elevations up to 3,000 feet and an 80-foot waterfall provide excellent views. Activities include equestrian camping, trout fishing, mountain biking, picnicking and more.
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