What to do in William B Umstead State Park

William B. Umstead State Park is tucked between the growing cities of Raleigh, Cary, Durham and the corporate Research Triangle. The 5,413 acre park is divided into two sections, Crabtree Creek and Reedy Creek. It includes an oak-hickory forest, moist hardwood forest, piedmont floodplain forest and three man-made lakes.

In 1934, under the Resettlement Administration, federal and state agencies united to buy 5,000 acres of this submarginal land to develop a recreation area. The Civilian Conservation Corps, as well as the Works Progress Administration, helped construct the site. Four camps along with day-use and picnic facilities were built. The park opened in 1937.

The Piedmont Beech Natural area, a 50-acre tract deep in the heart of the park is included in the National Registry of Natural Landmarks. Trees here are centuries old. There is also the Crabtree Slopes Natural Area with extensive mountain laurel thickets found on the south side of Crabtree Creek.

Park Hours: November-February 8 am-6 pm; March and October 8 am - 7 pm; April, May, September 8 am - 8 pm; June-August 8 am - 9 pm. Office hours: 8 am-4 pm Monday through Friday. Gates will remain locked, except in emergency situations, when the park is not in operation. Please plan accordingly. The park is closed Christmas Day.

Recreation
This park is a respite from everyday life offering a place to picnic, fish, hike, mountain bike, horseback ride or camp. There are 16 miles of hiking trails, a variety of which are on the fall line, and 17 miles of bridle trails. Three lakes offer plenty of opportunity to catch bass, bluegill and crappie. Two of the lakes allow summer swimming. There are lodges to rent, family camping, group camping and primitive camping.

Maple Hill Lodge is available to groups. Facilities include a fireplace, drinking water and pit privies. The lodge can accommodate up to 25 people sleeping on the floor. It is open year-round, but reservations are required.

No swimming is permitted at Big Lake and only group campers staying at Camp Lapihio, Crabtree or Whispering Pines can swim at Reedy Creek or Sycamore lakes.

Lake / stream fishing is allowed on the lakes in both sections of the park except for the swimming areas. The most common catches are bass, bluegill,and crappie. Rowboats and canoes may be rented at William B. Umstead. Boats are located at the boathouse in the Crabtree Section. Private boats and gasoline engines are not permitted on the lake; electric motors are permitted.

In addition to guided nature walks, Umstead State Park offers lectures and environmental education programs. Contact the park staff for more information. Environmental Educational Learning Experience (EELE) Grades: 3, 4 and 5. Introduces students to land-use processes that can destroy resources through erosion and to ways of properly managing, restoring and preserving these resources. Major concepts covered include the following: forces and causes of erosion and sedimentation, control measures, laws concerning erosion and sedimentation, resource management and stewardship.

On the Crabtree Creek side, one picnic shelter, restrooms and three picnic sites are wheelchair accessible.

Location
Crabtree Creek Section: Off US 70 about six miles northwest of Raleigh's I-440. Reedy Creek Section: About 0.5 miles north of I-40 at Exit 287 (Harrison Ave).

Climate
North Carolina has a temperate climate with mild winters and long fall and spring months. Summers can be hot and humid, especially in the piedmont and coastal plain region, which don't get relief from coastal breezes or higher elevations. The mountains tend to be substantially cooler and receive some winter snow.

In the Piedmont Region, winter daytime temperatures normally range from the upper 30's to the upper 40s. Summer daytime temperatures range from the high 70's to the low 90's. The state has a fairly wet climate with an average precipitation for this area averaging 44-52 inches (112-132 centimeters).

Address
8801 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27612

Phone: 919-571-4170

Email: umstead@gte.net
  • William B Umstead State Park Travel Q&A

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