Free things to do
You don't need to spend money to enjoy the lake. There are all kinds of things you can do for free.
For boat owners there are many convenient places to launch for free. High Rock Lake is a large body of water and spreads across two counties, Davidson and Rowan. By boat, you can explore the Yadkin river, the many creeks and cruise the three hundred and fifty plus miles of shoreline. There is plenty of room to enjoy tubing, wakeboarding, skiing or just sightseeing. You can find the boat ramp closest to you here.
There are a couple of designated swimming areas on High Rock Lake. Buddle Creek, and Pebble Beach both have nice sandy beaches with roped off areas to keep swimmers away from boat traffic. There are no life guards on duty but there are life preservers available for use to keep non swimmers safe. Click Here for more info
Along with the swimming areas, most people find the best place to swim is right off their boat. There are plenty of quiet coves and undeveloped beaches to anchor up and enjoy.
High Rock lake has an amazing variety of bird life. On just about every visit you'll see bald eagles, osprey (during the spring, summer and fall) and a variety of other birds normally found near bodies of water. For over a decade the lake has also had some very unusual visitors during the winter months. American white pelicans have been showing up in good numbers in late winter and early spring. They are one of the largest birds in North America.
If you are into history and culture, the area has quite a few places that you can explore and it won't cost you a dime. The old Davidson County Courthouse on Main Street in Lexington is not just an old historic building, its also a museum and well worth a visit.
In Salisbury you'll find the Rowan Museum at 202 North Main Street. It is another great place to explore and find out about the history of the area.
We will add more to this list in the future. If you have suggestions, please send them our way via the link at the bottom of the page.
If you want to get out and enjoy and old fashioned picnic there are many places to find the perfect spot. The table pictured below is in the Eagle Point Nature Preserve. One of the many great spots around the lake and along the river to have a picnic. Many of the area parks also offer shelters for large group outings. Groups should always check ahead because groups are often required to register and pay a fee.
There are picnic tables at Yadkin River Park at York Hill, Boone's Cave Park, Dan Nicholas Park and there is a great little spot below the dam off Bringle Ferry Road. Sine it is below the dam, that last site is actually on the "Tuckertown Reservoir."
Keep an eye out here for more as we create a complete and comprehensive list.
High Rock Lake has the well earned reputation as being one of the best fishing destinations in the southeast. No matter what species you're after, largmouth bass, crappie, catfish or bluegill, you'll find it here. Each year the lake hosts dozens of fishing tournaments, In the 1990s it was even the sit of the "Bass Master's Classic." You'll find bait and tackle shops along just about every route to the lake and there are even some places on the water to fuel up your boat and pick up supplies.
You don't need a boat to fish on High Rock Lake. There are numerous places to fish from the banks.
Kayaking and SUPs, stand up paddle boards, have become extremely popular over the past several years. You can launch from any of the access areas but one of the favorites is York Hill Access. Here paddlers traveling down stream on the "Daniel Boone Heritage Canoe Trail" take their boats out and others launch from the site and can paddle up stream or down into the lake. At times when the launch site is at lake level, paddling can be quite easy, but when the river rolling, hang on.
There is also a brand new kayak access area on Abbott's Creeks at Highway 47. This area is still being developed and the master plan will include a dock and other amenities. From the access you can paddle upstream through an area of flooded timber that includes a grove of beautiful cypress trees. It will remind you of a scene from eastern North Carolina, Florida or Louisiana.
There are quite a few great places to get off the water and stretch your legs. While there are a good number of hiking trials nearby, the Uhwharrie National Forest is only a short drive away and offers some of the most rugged and remote hiking areas found anywhere in the state. There's even a designated wilderness area if you really want to get way from civilization.
The winding country roads around the lake in Rural Rowan and Davidson Counties attract a lot of cyclist and over the past several years a dedicated bunch of volunteers have worked hard to also make the area a destination for mountain bikers. Check out our mountain bike guide for more information.
There are numerous parks in communities surrounding the lake. Many of them offer everything from playgrounds to elaborate trail systems. Keep in mind that while many of the parks are free, there are some that do charge admission. Dan Nicholas Park does not charge for visiting! Many features of the park are also free. Other areas of can be visited that offer activities for very small charges.
The North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer does charge for certain activities and events as well but visitors will not be disappointed.
The lake offers countless opportunities for the photographer. From stunning sunrises and sunsets, wildlife and just plain unspoiled scenic beauty, High Rock Lake is picture perfect. Take a look at some of our pics here.