Hikers, trail runners, bicyclists and equestrians cherish the extensive network of hiking and multi-use trails at William B. Umstead State Park. Trailheads on both sides of the park—accessible from Interstate 40 and US 70—surround three manmade lakes. The largest is Big Lake, offering canoe and rowboat rentals. Fishing is welcome at all the lakes and connecting tributaries. At both access areas, picnic grounds surround shelters with fireplaces that can be reserved. For organizations and nonprofit groups, primitive group campsites are available as well as two group camps with cabins, mess halls, and washhouses. Historic Maple Hill Lodge can be reserved for overnight group gatherings. A tent campground is open during summer months.
Stay a while and take time to enjoy the park. The tent campground is open April 1 through December 1. Twenty-eight campsites, well-shaded by a hardwood forest, offer picnic tables and grills. Hookups are not available, but drinking water and restrooms with showers are centrally located.
Primitive group camping
Two primitive campgrounds are open year round for organizations and nonprofit groups that want a more rugged camping experience. Reservations are required for use of these campgrounds.
The youth tent camp offers tent sites, a pit privy, fire ring, two picnic tables and running water. The camp accommodates up to 25 people.
Maple Hill Lodge is also available for groups. Facilities include a fireplace, drinking water, fire ring, picnic tables and restrooms. The lodge houses up to 25 people. The lodge is a historic landmark built in the 1930s. The lodge is an open room with no furniture. Campers must bring their own sleeping bags. The lodge is an overnight facility only and campers must checkout with a Ranger.
Two group camps—Camp Crabtree and Camp Lapihio—are available to organizations and nonprofit groups. Each camp includes a mess hall, dining area, and washhouses. Located in the heart of the woodlands, each camp offers ample opportunity to explore the wonders of nature.
Group camps are open April through October and may be rented daily in spring and fall or weekly during the summer. Accommodating between 27 and 120 people, an entire camp may be rented or a unit of cabins may be rented. Fees vary accordingly. A minimum of 10 people is required to rent a group camp or unit. Reservations for the group camps must be made by calling or coming into the park office.
The park is a great place for a hike!
Rent a canoe from the visitor center, (entrance off Glenwood Ave.) for boating on Big Lake. Relaxing on these small boats is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
For people who prefer horseback, approximately 13 miles of bridle trails travel through some of the most scenic and secluded parts of the park. Signs mark the equestrian trails. Horses are restricted to these trails and are not permitted in other areas of the park, including hiking trails. Bridle trailhead parking is available on Sycamore Road past Maple Hill Lodge. All visitors with horses must be able to provide proof of a negative equine infectious anemia (Coggins) test while visiting North Carolina State Parks. All equestrians must check in at the Visitor Center prior to riding on the multiuse trails.
William B. Umstead State Park is one of the few state parks offering trails for bicycling.The mountain-bike trails follow the same roads as the bridle trails and are entered at the same points. Bike trailhead parking is also available down Sycamore Road past Maple Hill Lodge. Mountain bikes are prohibited on the hiking trails.
Three manmade lakes are part of the picturesque beauty of William B. Umstead State Park. The largest is Big Lake, which lies on Sycamore Creek. From the parking lot in the Crabtree Creek section, a broad gravel path leads to this 55-acre body of water. Further downstream is Sycamore Lake and, near the intersection of Crabtree and Reedy creeks, is Reedy Creek Lake. Sycamore and Reedy Creek lakes cover about 25 acres each.
Anglers will enjoy casting a line at William B. Umstead State Park. Fishing is permitted in each of the three lakes and in the connecting streams. Common catches include bass, bluegill and crappie. Regulations of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are enforced.
Take a picnic in the park; tables, grills and scenery are provided free of charge. A pine/hardwood forest forms a canopy for 40 picnic tables in the Crabtree Creek section. Reedy Creek offers 25 tables scattered under the trees. Drinking water, restrooms and parking are conveniently located nearby.
Crabtree Creek has two shelters for group picnics. One shelter accommodates up to 100 people; the second is for smaller gatherings of 20 people or less. A fireplace in each shelter offers an ideal setting for cool-weather dining. There are two shelters with fireplaces at Reedy Creek. One accommodates 125 people and has an attached stone deck; the second accommodates 60 people and is accessible. William B. Umstead State Park's picnic shelters are extremely popular, so reservations are suggested. Use of the shelters is free of charge unless reservations are made.
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