Park Hours: Monday–Sunday, 8 a.m.–sunset
Reminder: Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 2 – Harris Lake County Park will start closing at 6 p.m. on that day!
Park Closed: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day
Park Rules and Regulations: Safety and enjoyment go hand in hand at Harris Lake County Park. The following rules and regulations have been established to ensure a safe and pleasant visit.
- Speed limit is 20 mph.
- Pets must be restrained on a leash.
- Park only in designated areas.
- The following are prohibited:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Collection or removal of any animal or plant material
- Amplified music
- Overnight camping
- Open fires
- Firearms – This does not prohibit concealed handgun permit holders from legally carrying a concealed handgun, in accordance with N.C. General Statute 14-415.11.
In 1985, Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space signed a lease with Progress Energy for a 680-acre regional park facility on Harris Lake. The first phase of park construction began in 1997. This phase was built with the 1993 Bond Referendum money. The park opened to the public in May 1999.
A Bit of History
Long before Progress Energy purchased the land that comprises Harris Lake County Park and the surrounding area, a small community of farms and home sites existed. The Womble family had resided in the area since the 1700s.
N.C. State University graduate students Scott Bode and Sarah Nothstine compiled information about the cultural history of the area through interviews with the previous landowners. The homes of the Womble, Smith and Holleman families were researched through family interviews and archives. Park staff are fortunate to have this valuable historical information and plan to construct interpretive exhibits to educate visitors on the history of the area.
Agriculture was a way of life for the families living in the area. They raised livestock and grew cotton. Additional crops included tobacco, peanuts and sweet potatoes. Sugar caning was a popular activity to produce molasses. Occasional trips to the city market in downtown Raleigh provided income from the families' produce. You can still see remnants from the home sites along the trails at the park.
The park office is located at the first right turn inside the park.
The playground is unsupervised and includes a kids' lot (ages 5–12) and tot lot (ages 2–5).
Primitive Camp Site
This site is only offered for Guides and Scout groups supported by their governing body (i.e., Boy Scouts of America).
This type of primitive camp site provides a unique outdoor experience that enhances and develops those camping skills you learn through scouts. The goal is to leave those comforts of home behind and practice the “Leave No Trace” principles, while utilizing the bare necessities already provided at this camp site.
The primitive camp site contains minimal improvements, including a fire ring and picnic tables, but no running water. Park staff will provide firewood, so no outside wood or on-site scavenging is allowed. The site has a capacity of 50 persons, including children and adults. Advance reservation and payment is required. Contact the park office for further information. Fee: $30 per night
Restrooms are located in the center of the picnic area. Snack and drink machines are located in the area during the summer season.
Open Play Area and Volleyball Court
The large turfed area offers a place to throw a Frisbee, fly a kite or enjoy lunch on a picnic blanket. Our sand volleyball court is available during regular park hours and cannot be reserved.
Canoe/Kayak Launch Site
Park visitors may launch cartop boats. The launch site is located near the peninsula trailhead and picnic area. You must unload canoes and kayaks in the parking area and haul them a short, 147 yards to the launch site.
No watercraft with trailers or motors may be launched from inside the park. These users must use the Holleman or Highway 42 Wildlife Resource Commission boat ramps, located in other areas of Harris Lake.
Indulge your senses as you tour the brightly colored sensory garden, touching and smelling the newly planted flowers along the pathways. Toad houses, a rock garden, discovery boxes and more have been added to the already established native garden as part of a Girl Scout Gold Award project. Now, year round the garden will enlighten your day and test your senses as you enjoy an easy stroll along the garden paths.
Make sure you pick up the information sheet located at the entrance of the garden, which will help you discover the new garden additions and give you clues to the items in the discovery boxes! As you visit Harris Lake County Park, make sure you visit the garden and explore all that it has to offer!
Geocaching at Harris Lake County Park
The hunt is on during this high-tech “treasure” hunting game where park visitors come equipped with GPS devices in search of hidden geocaches! The geocaches located in Harris Lake County Park are hidden containers that have been approved by park staff and placed on park property for your exploration and enjoyment. Geocaches can be of varied sizes and hidden in easy to difficult-to-find places. The basic idea is to use GPS devices to help find these hidden containers and then record your find on the paper log provided in the geocache. Some geocaches have little “knick-knack” items, such as toys and stickers, that you can collect and replenish as you play, so the activity can be a real “treasure hunt.” This activity can be self-guided by getting coordinates from Geocaching.com and bringing your own GPS unit, or you can participate in one of our scheduled introduction to geocaching public programs.
Placing a Geocache
Geocaching on Wake County Park property is handled on a park-by-park basis. To see if geocaching is allowed and what the approval process is for placing a cache, please contact each park directly.
Geocaching is an accepted recreational activity at Harris Lake County Park. The park maintains a maximum number of caches on park property. Those wishing to establish a new cache must receive approval from Harris Lake County Park prior to placing a cache. To obtain the approval you must complete and submit a Geocache Placement Request Form to the park office. Please refer to the placement request form for more information.
Metal Detecting at Harris Lake County Park
There is not an official County ordinance that prohibits the use of metal detectors in the County's parks, but this is governed by our Division's internal guidelines and policies. Our guideline on the use of metal detectors is that you can use a metal detector to look for an item you have specifically lost, but not to "treasure hunt" in general. Park staff must be notified in advance before use of a metal detector to search for a personal lost item.
These guidelines are based on several parameters, including that several of our parks are on leased land and some leases prohibit the use of metal detectors in specific parks; that Wake County Parks, Recreation & Open Space has a "No Collection" policy that does not allow visitors to take things (natural or man-made) from the parks; and finally, all of our parks contain either historically significant structures or documented cemeteries that we do not wish disturbed.