Park Hours: Monday–Sunday, 8 a.m.–sunset
Park Closed: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day


The restrooms are closed for repairs until further notice.
Please use the temporary, ADA-accessible restrooms located near the Longleaf and Cypress shelters. We apologize for this inconvenience!

COVID-19 Updates


The health and safety of our visitors and staff remain the top priorities for Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space. As Wake County follows the state's phased approach to lift COVID-19 restrictions, we are also working to safely reopen park services in phases over the coming months.

Shelter Rentals and Park Use Agreements
As of October 1, shelter rentals and other park use agreements are available. Gatherings are limited to 50 people per the governor's executive order.

Playgrounds at parks managed by Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space are open to the public. Visitors are encouraged to maintain physical distance, wear masks or cloth face coverings, and wash or sanitize their hands often. Capacity limits are posted near each playground.
Public Notice: Playgrounds at Harris Lake County Park will be closed each week on Tuesday mornings from 8–10 a.m. (weather permitting) so that staff can perform routine cleaning associated with COVID-19.

Park Capacity
Measures to limit the number of people allowed in the park at one time remain in place. If a gate is closed or cones are blocking the entrance, that means the park has reached capacity. Parks that are run by towns or cities may be operating differently—please reach out to them directly before visiting their parks.

Help Continue to Slow the Spread of COVID-19
Wake County park and preserve visitors must comply with guidelines set forth by the State of North Carolina, including gathering with no more than 50 people, maintaining physical distance of at least six feet from any other person, and wearing a mask or cloth face covering when social distancing is not possible.
The following restrictions will remain in place at Wake County parks and preserves through at least January 31:
  • Park centers are closed.
  • Park programs and events are canceled.
  • Special operations, such as boat rentals, group camping and lodge rental, are not available.
As a reminder, 24/7 digital programming is available at



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. 
You are welcome to download and print out the
  • Speed limit is 20 mph.
  • Pets must be restrained on a leash.
  • Park only in designated areas.
  • The following are prohibited:
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Hunting
    • Swimming
    • Collection or removal of any animal or plant material
    • Amplified music
    • Overnight camping
    • Open fires
    • Use of any tobacco and vapor products
    • 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. 

Park History
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.
Park Office
The park office is located at the first right turn inside the park.

Enjoy the newly designed playground with features for kids 2–12! The playground is unsupervised, so adult supervision is recommended.
Public Notice: Playgrounds at Harris Lake County Park will be closed each week on Tuesday afternoons from 1–2 p.m. (weather permitting) so that staff can perform routine cleaning associated with COVID-19.
Primitive Camp Site
This site is only offered for Guides, Scouts and like groups 
supported by their governing body.
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 using the bare necessities already provided at this camp site. No vehicles are allowed back at the camp site and all equipment is typically carried in by backpack – hence, the primitive camping experience.
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 camp site rules and information. Fee: $30 per night
As of January 1, 2019, we will no longer accept cash on site at any Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space location. Payments can be made on site or in advance with a credit or debit card. Checks must be mailed in advance to
Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space,
PO Box 550, Suite 1000, Raleigh, NC 27602.
 PicnicTableandGrillSeating- web.jpgHLCP Day Use Building 2-web.jpg
Restroom Facility
Restrooms are located in the center of the picnic area. A drink machine is located at the restroom pavilion.
Playing Volleyball.JPG
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 car-top 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.

Photo of Educational Gardens


Educational Gardens and Natural Play Area
Exciting new features have been added to our gardens and Natural Play Area. Bring the kids over to explore.



Park Visitation Photography Notice
Parks, Recreation and Open Space staff may take photographs or video of park patrons of all ages to demonstrate the use of our parks. Photographs may be used in print, video or digital media. Any Wake County staff taking photographs or video for this purpose will be wearing recognizable Wake County Parks uniform or other visible ID. If you do not want to be photographed or have your child photographed during your park visit, then please notify park staff.

Park Photography Policy
Are you a professional or amateur photographer interested in taking photos at Harris Lake County Park?
Harris Lake County Park is picturesque and provides the perfect setting for a variety of photography opportunities. To ensure that all park visitors have an enjoyable experience, registration is required for photo shoots.
Please see the Photography Permit Information for a complete list of rules and guidelines and how to register for a permit.


Prescribed Burning: Forest Management
Fire is a natural component of a healthy forest. Prescribed burns help reduce the encroachment of competing shrubs and hardwoods in the forest understory and replenish nutrients in the soil. Due to the decline of a once vast acreage of Longleaf Pines in North Carolina, the Forest Service has made it a priority to aid in its restoration.

Our staff is honored  to have such a unique forest resource within the park boundary and to know that our management of the 60-acre Longleaf Pine Forest aids in the efforts to restore Longleaf Pines to North Carolina.


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 and bringing your own GPS unit, or you can participate in one of our scheduled introduction to geocaching public programs.

Placing a Geocache
Geocachepicweb.jpgGeocaching 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. (At this time, no additional/new geocaches will be accepted or approved until further notice.) 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.
Drone and RC Vehicle Operation at Harris Lake County Park
The use of Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Remote Control Vehicles is allowed subject to these regulations.

Online Shelter Reservations and Program Registrations
You can reserve a shelter or register for a public program online
at your convenience and pay with a credit/debit card.
For more information on our picnic shelters or to reserve a shelter,  
visit our Picnic Opportunities page.
To view a list of our public programs or to register for a program,  
check out our Public Programs page.
*   *   *
As of Jan. 1, 2019, we no longer accept cash on site at any Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space location. Payments can be made on site or in advance with a credit or debit card. Checks must be mailed in advance to
Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space,
PO Box 550, Suite 1000, Raleigh, NC 27602.
Have questions? Are you unable to pay online with a credit/debit card? Contact the park office at 919-387-4342 or email us at for assistance.