Tucked into the rolling hill country at the base of mighty Linville Gorge is Lake James, a sprawling 6,812-acre reservoir with more than 150 miles of shoreline. Lake James State Park offers two access areas: Catawba River and Paddy's Creek. Both sections offer lake access, trails, picnic areas, and more. The Paddy's Creek section also offers mountain biking.
Park Website: www.ncparks.gov/lake-james-state-park
WHERE: Nebo, NC
DIRECTIONS: See the state park website for specific directions to Catawba River and Paddys Creek accesses.
Make sure you have the supplies to deal with major injuries, and make sure you have the knowledge to use it.