Lake Crabtree Hours and Information

Blue Heron near lake shore


As the first established county park, Lake Crabtree County Park offers visitors opportunities for outdoor recreation. Located on a 215-acre site adjacent to a 520-acre flood control lake, the park hosts more than 16 miles of trails.


Park Hours:
Monday–Sunday, 8 a.m.–Sunset

Park Office Hours:
Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

Park Information

Park Rules

Park Rules and Regulations

  • Speed limit is 20 mph. 
  • Clean up after your pets.
  • Keep pets on a 6-foot leash.
  • Fish from designated areas only. Catch and release only.
  • Park only in designated areas. No parking on roadsides or outside park gates.
  • The following are prohibited:
    • Open fires
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Tobacco and vapor products
    • Hunting
    • Feeding of wildlife
    • Swimming
    • Collection or release of any animal, plant, or mineral material
    • Amplified music
    • Littering
    • Firearms
      • This does not prohibit concealed handgun permit holders from legally carrying a concealed handgun in accordance with N.C.G.S. 14-415.11
    • Overnight parking and camping
    • ATVs and other motorized vehicles

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.

Professional Photography in the Park

Are you a professional or amateur photographer interested in taking photos at Lake Crabtree County Park?

Lake Crabtree 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.


Metal Detecting and Magnet Fishing

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. Our parks contain either historically significant structures or documented cemeteries that should not be disturbed.

Metal detectors and magnet fishing may be used to look for an item you have specifically lost, but not to "treasure hunt" in general. The Park Manager must be notified and grant permission in advance of using a metal detector or magnet fishing to search for a personal lost item.

Drones/RC Vehicles/Model Rockets

The use of Unmanned Aircraft (Drones), Remote Control Vehicles, and Model Rockets is allowed subject to these regulations 

Shelter Reservations and Picnicking

Three shelters at Lake Crabtree are available for rental. Each shelter has a grill and tables, as well as its own horseshoe pit. Those renting shelters can check out horseshoes and volleyballs at no extra charge. This may be done at the Maintenance Facility, which is the first driveway on the left after entering the park. Only one shelter can be reserved per day.

Reservations can be made online or in person Mon.–Thur., 9 a.m.–1 p.m. at the park office, or by calling 919-460-3390.

Same-day rentals are not available. Cancellations due to rain are not allowed. Unreserved shelters may be used free of charge, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lake Crabtree has many individual picnic tables, with and without grills, scattered throughout the park, two of which are handicap accessible. These are intended for individuals to use free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis; maximum capacity is 12 people.

Please recycle! Recycling bins are located at each shelter and throughout the park.

Park News

COVID-19 Service Update

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
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.

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 February 28:

Park centers are closed.

Park programs and events are cancelled.

Special operations, such as boat rentals, group camping and lodge rental, are not available.

As a reminder, 24/7 digital programming is available through Parks from Home

Monthly Email Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on park news, programs and events by viewing our current e-newsletter.

Park Features


Kids can burn off energy at the Tot Lot (for 2- to 5-yearolds) and the Kids Lot (for 5- to 12-year-olds). The playgrounds are not supervised by park staff, so parents should keep an eye on their children.

Open Play Area

The large floodplain area is a prime location to fly kites, toss a frisbee, kick a ball, walk a leashed pet and more. Two volleyball courts are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Water Wise Garden

Drought-tolerant plants that thrive in this part of North Carolina grow in the WaterWise Garden, presented by the Master Gardeners of Wake County and North Carolina Cooperative Extension. A Certified Wildlife Habitat® adjacent to the park office includes a bird feeder station and a sampling of native plants.

Historic Homesite

Get a glimpse into a more rural time. Small farms made up the bulk of the state’s population until about 100 years after the Civil War. 

Multi-Use Trails

Designed for the beginner to intermediate rider, these trails are used by mountain bikers, joggers and walkers. Motorized bikes are not permitted. Visitors share responsibility for the safety of the others, and cyclists must wear ANSI or Snell-approved safety helmets. The trail system can also be reached from the Town of Cary’s Black Creek Greenway or from William B. Umstead State Park via Old Reedy Creek Road near Interstate 40.

Old Beech Nature Trail

This short loop provides a self-guided environmental education experience. Learn about habitat features as you travel from a young mixed forest to an older bottomland forest. A brochure is available at the trailhead kiosk.

Give us your feedback!

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit Lake Crabtree County Park, we’d love to hear about your experience! Please take our online survey