3 Things to Do at William B. Umstead State Park
Umstead State Park is a large state park in North Carolina. Northeast of Raleigh — roughly a 20-minute drive from the city center to the Crabtree Creek Entrance — visitors will find nearly 5,600 acres of beautiful outdoor space waiting to be explored. Its proximity to the state’s capital makes this secluded land a wonderful respite and a must-see for travelers and locals alike. Here are some of the top things to do at Umstead State Park.
Hiking and Camping
The opportunity to rough it so close to civilization is a special blessing. Camping is allowed from March 15 to December 1, and there are several accommodation options to consider:
– Primitive Camping: Pick a spot at one of the two primitive campgrounds if you need little more than your tent and a sleeping bag. Note that a reservation is required for all camping spaces.
– Youth Camping: The park has a site for youth camping that includes a fire ring, picnic tables, and running water. Groups of up to 25 can reserve a spot here.
Group Campsites: For large groups, guests can reserve Camp Crabtree or Camp Lapihio. Up to 120 people per campsite can enjoy the facilities here, which include a mess hall, dining area, and washhouses.
– Maple Hill Lodge: For something slightly more luxurious, book at the Maple Hill Lodge. Up to 25 people can stay here and enjoy the fireplace, fire ring, and picnic tables. Note that there’s no furniture in the lodge, so you’ll still need to pack a sleeping bag or cot.
In addition to campgrounds, the park is interlaced with trails for hiking and horseback riding, and you’ll enjoy an incredible amount of seclusion.
Take a Canoe or Row Boat on the Water
Umstead State Park is a popular destination for canoeing and boating. You’ll need to visit the boathouse for a rental, however. Private boats aren’t allowed.
The boathouse is only open on weekends May through September. Its hours of operation are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., so plan accordingly. It costs $5 per hour to rent a boat, and you’ll get to see some gorgeous scenery from the water. No pets are allowed in the boats. If you do fish from the boat or anywhere else in the park, remember to follow North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission regulations. By the north gate, you’ll find Umstead Park Lake and Umstead Park Lower Lake. Reedy Creek Lake is by the south entrance.
If you just want to spend an hour or two here, Umstead State Park is an excellent location for trail running or biking. You can also check the website for upcoming events, like pumpkin painting in the fall and cycling get-togethers throughout the year.
Umstead State Park is open year-round, so you can visit regardless of the season. There’s no admission fee. The park office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Crabtree Creek Entrance and Reedy Creek Entrance have their own hours of operation. Check the website when you’re planning your trip to ensure you can do all the things on your list.
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