Lake James State Park
While new-school in design, the trails at Lake James State Park provide a backcountry experience with an open feel and solid mileage for any level of rider.
There are plenty of rollers and grade reversals, but not many technical features incorporated in the trails, but the difficulty ratings do follow and appropriate progression. The Beginner rated Tindo Loops are nearly flat; the West Wimba Loop adds more flow and speed, and the East Wimba Loop has tighter turns, more elevation change, and requires more commitment. All of the trails at the park are directional and signed as such.
These trails are all directional with one-way loops and two-way connectors. The direction of Wimba loops rotates quarterly and will be signed in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.
These trails are closed by the park staff when impacted by wet weather or freeze-thaw. If the weather in the area of the park is questionable (i.e. it has rained within 24 hours of your trip), be sure to check the trail status at the top of the Lake James State Park website before you go.
History & Background
The mountain bike trails at Lake James State Park opened on National Trails Day, June 7, 2014. The trail system augments a swim beach, bathhouse, picnic areas, foot trails and a maintenance compound that have been opened at the parks Paddys Creek Area since 2010.
2,915 acres were acquired for the park in 2004 from Crescent Resources Inc., separate from the original 605-acre state park opened in 1987. The Paddys Creek Area encompasses more than 30 miles of shoreline on the 6,812-acre lake.
The Alliance assists the park staff in maintaining the trails and is also involved in the planning for future trails.
Traveling east on I-40: From I-40, take the Nebo/Lake James exit (exit 90) and head north. After a half mile, turn right onto Harmony Grove Road, and follow it for 2 miles to a stoplight. Proceed straight across the intersection and past Nebo Elementary School to a stop sign. Turn right onto NC 126, and follow the signs to the park entrance 4.8 miles on the right.
Traveling west on I-40: From I-40, take the Dysartsville/Lake James exit (exit 94) and head north for 0.5 mile to a stop sign. Turn left onto US 70 and follow it for 1.5 miles. Turn right onto Bridgewater Road and travel 1.2 miles. Turn left onto Benfield’s Landing Road, and follow it for 2 miles to a stop sign. Turn right onto NC 126, and follow the signs to the park entrance 0.7 miles on the right.
The mountain bike parking lot is approximately one mile from the park entrance on the left (up the hill about .6 mi. from the Paddy’s Creek Bridge).
Exact Trailhead Coordinates and Google Map: 35.759459, -81.887510
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