Friday, November 10, 2023

Backcountry Campsites in Western N.C. State Parks Temporarily Close

Nov 10, 2023

All backcountry campsites at nine state parks in western North Carolina are closed effective Nov. 10 due to increased fire risk, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. The closures will last through at least Dec. 1.

The following state parks are affected:

Crowders Mountain State Park: All campsites are closed.

Elk Knob State Park: All campsites and the zone camping area are closed.

Gorges State Park: All camping is currently closed. The backcountry campsites at the Frozen Creek Access are closed as of Nov. 10. The tent/trailer/RV campground and camper cabins are currently closed through Nov. 16 due to black bear activity in the area.

Grandfather Mountain State Park: All campsites are closed.

Lake James State Park: All paddle-in campsites at Long Arm Peninsula are closed. The tent/trailer/RV campground at Paddy’s Creek Access and the tent campsites at Catawba River Access remain open.

Mount Mitchell State Park: Tent campsites at the park are closed. A fire ban is in effect at the dispersed camping areas inside Pisgah National Forest.

New River State Park: The backcountry campsites at the Peaks Area and at Riverbend Area, accessible through the Wagoner Access, are closed. Paddle-in campsites at Riverbend, Prather’s Creek, and Alleghany areas are closed. The walk-in tent campsites at Wagoner Access and all campsites at U.S. 221 Access remain open.

South Mountains State Park: The 24 backpacking campsites at South Mountains State Park are closed. The tent/trailer/RV campground remains open.

Stone Mountain State Park: The four backcountry campsites located along Widow’s Creek Trail are closed. The tent/trailer/RV campground and the walk-in group campsites remain open.

Some of these campsites are non-reservable, but campers with reservations between Nov. 10 through Dec. 1 will receive a full refund.

All state parks listed above as well as Lake Norman State Park are currently under the state burn ban. Campfires are prohibited at these parks. Campers should bring a portable gas stove or grill for cooking.

Most counties in North Carolina are currently under a drought classification, varying from abnormally dry conditions to severe drought conditions. Visitors at state parks across the entire state should take precautions when cooking and camping, including never leaving a campfire, grill, or stove unattended, and ensuring all coals, embers, and firewood are completely extinguished and cool to the touch before they leave. North Carolina state parks allow campfires only inside designated fire rings and grills.

For additional fire safety information, visit the N.C. State Parks website:

About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 250,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 19 million visitors annually.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.

The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit

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