Lake Crabtree Visitor Information

Lake Crabtree

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 & 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 natural material or living organism unless otherwise designated by Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space staff
    • 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

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. Recreation equipment can be requested at the time of reservation at no extra charge. Only one shelter can be reserved per group 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. If you need assistance with the online reservation system please use this number during office hours.

Helpful Hint: Within the reservation application, rental block times default to 9am-8pm. However, park closing times vary according to sunset. You can contact the park directly to confirm the specific closing time associated with your reservation date.

Same-day rentals are not available. Cancellations due to rain are not allowed. Please review the park rules and shelter cancellation policy to make sure that they suit your gathering's needs. 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 Visitation Photography Notice

Parks, Recreation & 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 & Magnet Fishing

Wake County Parks, Recreation & Open Space has a "No Collection" policy that does not allow visitors to take things (natural or manmade) 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.


LCCP Geocache Photo Take a Child Outside Cache

The hunt is on during this high-tech “treasure” hunting activity! Use GPS devices to find hidden containers within the park. This activity is self-guided by getting coordinates from and bringing your own GPS unit or downloading the cell phone app.

Those wishing to establish a new cache must follow the proper guidelines and complete and submit a Geocache Form to the park office for review.

Not all of the caches in the park are available to view with a free version of a account so check out the Geocache links below to see a full list of all Geocaches available at Lake Crabtree County Park. 

Each geocache has a series of attributes associated with it. Attributes communicate what to expect at a cache location. Head to the Attribute List to see a full breakdown of what each icon represents.

Electronic Assisted Bicycle "Ebike" Policy

Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space allows the use of electric pedal-assisted bicycles with a motor of no more than 750 watts. Self-propelled vehicles are not allowed (e.g., fully powered electric bikes, dirt bikes, ATVs and Onewheels). Check out the complete Electric Assisted Bicycle Policy.

Fishing Opportunities

Fishing at Lake Crabtree County Park

Fishing is a popular pastime at Lake Crabtree County Park. A fishing pier and platform provide handicap accessibility. Fishing is permitted in designated areas only. The park offers a Tackle Loaner Program through the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Check out the section below for more details.

Any person 16 and older fishing in public waters MUST have a fishing license. Children under 16 years of age must be with a licensed adult to fish.

PCB Information and Fishing Advisory

In mid-May 2004, Lake Crabtree County Park was notified of elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the fish. Since this time, a North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) fish consumption advisory has been in effect.

Wake County has a catch-and-release-only policy at Lake Crabtree and Crabtree Creek. The following documents contain information on Wake County's policy:

Wake County Catch and Release Policy 

Advertencia del Gobierno del Condado de Wake 

Tackle Loaner Program

Wake County Parks, Recreation & Open Space offers a Fishing Tackle Loaner program in partnership with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Register for the Tackle Loaner Program (TLP) by stopping by the park office Monday-Thursday or the Boat Rental Facility Friday-Sunday. You will fill out an application and receive your TLP identification card which will be like a library card to check out a fishing rod at all other TLP sites as well as Lake Crabtree County Park. Once registered you will be able to borrow a fishing rod equipped with hook, sinker, and bobber, but you will have to provide your own bait. Hours for rental will vary based on staff scheduling, you may call the office at 919-460-3390 to see if anyone is available. When you are finished please return the fishing poles back to where you checked them out. If no staff are present at that time, please return them to the locker behind the park office (follow the rocky path along the side of the building to the backside from the parking lot and you will see two plastic lockers, return it to the one with the sign indicating TLP Pole Returns). 

We also offer fishing equipment for those with limited mobility. We have a pole holder, velcro reeling kit, pole grasping cuff, and wheelchair pole holder for your assistance. You may check this out the day of or reach out in advance to make sure this is prepared for you. Contact the Tackle Loaner Program Coordinator for further information:

Park Features


Kids can burn off energy at the Tot Lot (for 2- to 5-year-olds) 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.

Park News

Monthly Email Newsletter

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

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.