Our basecamp for this weekend of exploring will be the Paddy's Creek Campground, from which we will launch into a weekend of hiking at Lake James and on the new Fonta Flora State Trail, intended to one day link downtown Asheville and downtown Morganton. There might even be some kayaking thrown in.
About the campsite: It's drive-up — no schlepping gear — with tent pad, fire ring, picnic table, and individual bear boxes; the bath house is nearby. Each site will host two tents; we will reserve sites in close proximity to one another.
About the adventure: Saturday, we will hike on the emerging Fonta Flora State Trail. Primarily a natural surface trail, it features gentle grades and views of Lake James and of Table Rock in the nearby Linville Gorge. Our loop hike will include a short segment of a connector trail for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which will give us a peek at the Linville River. Total distance: 12 miles.
Sunday's agenda is more open, including more hiking, hitting the beach for a swim, renting a kayak/canoe/standup paddleboard (or launch your own), mountain biking, or fishing for large mouth bass and catfish.
Located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, between the towns of Marion and Morganton, Lake James is 1,200 feet above sea level. The lake was created between 1916 and 1923 with the construction of dams across the Catawba River and two tributaries, Paddy Creek and Linville River. These impoundments were connected by a broad canal to form a 6,812-acre body of water. Named for James B. Duke, founder of Duke Power Company, Lake James has been a hydroelectric unit for the power company since the early 1900s.
Lake James is one of the most recent additions to the North Carolina State Parks system. As a result of strong local support and the efforts of area legislative delegations, the park was established in 1987 by the North Carolina General Assembly. The lake alone is 6,812 acres.
Your fee includes:
2 nights of camping
Sunday morning pancake breakfast
eguide with maps