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Elk Shoals New River State Park

  • Elk Shoals  New River State Park


Who says there are not Beaches in the Mountains? Next time you are in West Jefferson and looking for some “natural fun,” check out the New River State Park Elk Shoals Access in West Jefferson. Just a short 6-mile drive from downtown (off Boggs Rd from Hwy 163), you will find this 270-acre park with a restored beachfront featuring picnic tables, hiking trails, and more.

The History of Elk Shoals

The history of Elk Shoals is a fascinating tale that takes us back to the early days of Ashe County. This picturesque area, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, has seen its fair share of changes over the years.

One of the most notable events in its history was the establishment of the Methodist Camp in the late 1800s. This camp became a popular destination for people seeking spiritual rejuvenation and a break from the bustling city life. The serene atmosphere and natural beauty of Elk Shoals made it the perfect location for this retreat, attracting visitors from near and far.

As time went on, the Methodist Camp at Elk Shoals gained even more popularity, with more cabins being built to accommodate the growing number of visitors. People would flock to this peaceful haven, eager to escape their daily routines and reconnect with nature. The camp became a hub of activity, with various recreational facilities being added to enhance the experience for guests. Whether it was fishing in the nearby streams, hiking along the scenic trails, or simply sitting by the campfire and sharing stories, there was something for everyone at Elk Shoals.

However, as the years passed, the demand for the Methodist Camp started to decline. With changing times and the emergence of new vacation destinations, Elk Shoals began to lose its appeal. Eventually, it became clear that maintaining the camp was no longer financially viable. Reluctantly, the decision was made to put Elk Shoals up for sale.

In 2018 The New River Conservancy purchased the land for $2.5M. Since the purchase, they have annexed the acreage and river frontage to be a part of the New River State Park, leading to many updates that have enhanced its natural beauty and accessibility.

Elk Shoals Today

Today, Elk Shoals has transformed into a different kind of retreat. The rustic cabins that once housed camp-goers have been converted into cozy vacation rentals, offering a glimpse into the area's rich history. Visitors can still enjoy the beauty of Elk Shoals, exploring its trails and immersing themselves in its peaceful ambiance. The spirit of the Methodist Camp lives on in the hearts of those who once experienced its magic and, in the stories, shared by generations.

Enjoy Water and Outdoor Activities

Adding thirteen miles of river to the New River State Park's [now] forty-nine miles, Elk Shoals offers new opportunities to enjoy the outdoors!

  • Make a splash!

The water is gently flowing with a few small rapids, but just deep enough to enjoy a cool mountain dip or a nice wade- ideal for all ages. The sandy beach is a great spot to relax and watch your worries float away.

  • Hop on a float!

Whether you enjoy a tube, kayak or canoe, the Elk Shoals River access is a great spot to take a relaxing float on the New River. For river enthusiasts who enjoy a longer journey, hop in at Elk Shoals and float down to the other end of New River State Park's Wagner Access.

  • Take a hike!

There is a nice easy hiking loop where you can enjoy the riverbanks and the area's natural flora.

  • Have a picnic or a party!

With multiple picnic tables and a community building, Elk Shoals is a perfect spot to host your next event during the warmer months. If you plan to have a picnic with a table- plan to get there early.

There are all sorts of Critters!

With over 144 species of birds sited in the park and multiple land and water creatures, you will be sure to get your fill of nature. You might even spot the Eastern Hellbender, the largest known salamander to live in North America. Sadly, no one has spotted Elk at the shoals in an exceedingly long time. However, other familiar critters like rainbow trout, crawfish, raccoons, deer, and more have been known to traverse or call the park home. Therefore, please be careful with what food and trash you leave behind- keep our furry and fishy neighbors safe!

Plan a Trip to Elk Shoals

If you are looking for a fun day filled with outdoor activities in the NC High Country, Elk Shoals is a wonderful spot with a range of options while still being close to town. The park is open from sunrise to sunset year-round! Our best advice is to get there early on the warmest and sunniest days as it fills up fast! If you want to reserve the community building, click here for more information.

To Access Elk Shoals – New River Park

  • U.S. 221 Access and Visitor Center. Address. 358 New River State Park Road, Laurel Springs, NC 28644. ...
  • Wagoner Access. Address. 1477 Wagoner Access Road, Jefferson, NC 28640. ...
  • Kings Creek Access. Address. 2250 Kings Creek Road, Piney Creek, NC 28663. ...
  • Elk Shoals Access. Address. 349 Methodist Camp Road, West Jefferson, NC 28694.

The Park is Pet Friendly, and there are no fees to access the park for a day.

If you decide to answer the call of the North Carolina Mountains and settle down in a mountain home, the agents at Ashe High Country Realty are ready to help your dreams come true. Call Us: 336-246-6348



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