Salem Lake Trail

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Distance7.1mi
Elevation Gain1,091ft
Trailhead Elevation811ft
Top845ft
Elevation Min/Max770/845ft
Elevation Start/End811/811ft

Salem Lake Trail

Salem Lake Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It is 7.1 miles long and begins at 811 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 14.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,091 feet. Near the trailhead there is drinking water. Along the trail there are shelters.

Salem Lake Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Though primarily known for its 365-acre lake and attendant activities—fishing and boating— Salem Lake Park is also the center for hiking in Winston-Salem. There are some good stretches along this side of the lake for fall color.

In particular, a deep cove at the 4-mile mark includes some dazzling redbuds, red maples, and dogwoods, whose various shades of red pop against the otherwise yellow foliage."

"One of the Triad’s earlier greenways, this hike makes an extended loop around Salem Lake. Leave the busy day-use area near the dam and then cruise the shoreline, winding into embayments and out to peninsulas. Watery views are plentiful along the mostly dirt track.

If you are looking to break into a longer hike, this is a good one to start with. Despite a paved beginning, the vast majority of the trail is gravel or natural surfaces, which are easier on the feet. Elevation changes are minimal, which makes the distance more doable.

Tall pines and hardwoods shade the wide trail, which is popular with joggers and bicyclists as well is hikers. Resting benches are placed sporadically along the trail. Occasional singletrack paths, created by mountain bikers, spur off the main trail. Oak, beech, dogwood, and elm are just a few of the trees that will shade you. Sweet gum and cedar line the way as well."

"At 6.9 miles, Salem Creek Trail is one of the longer stretches of continuous urban greenway in the state. The trail follows Salem Creek through a floodplain and passes into a typical bottomland forest of mature hardwoods—it also visits a golf course at 1.25 miles and a water treatment plant at 2 miles. At 1.5 miles, a short spur to the left leads to Reynolds Park and a restroom."

"Salem Lake is a 365-acre municipal water source for the city of Winston-Salem and surrounding Forsyth County. There is a wooded buffer zone around the lake that provides good habitat for a variety of birds.A small marina and fishing pier are located near the dam at the western end of the lake. Over the years a number of rarities have been spotted here, including such species as Sabine’s Gull, Black and Gull-billed Terns, White-winged Scoter, and Olive-sided Flycatcher. More routinely, a quick scan of the lake from the parking area is always a good start. In winter look for Buffleheads, Ring-necked Ducks,American Coots, and Pied-billed Grebes.

The trail above the paved parking area is a good place to look for flycatchers such as Eastern Phoebes, Eastern Kingbirds, and Great Crested and Acadian Flycatchers in the summer, and a good place for Eastern Bluebirds and Brown-headed Nuthatches any time. The loop trail along the north side of the lake between the dam and the iron foot-
bridge is especially good for songbirds.At the east end of the lake, there is a marsh where you may find ducks in winter, Prothonotary Warblers in summer, and Great Blue Herons and Belted Kingfishers year-round."

Salem Lake Trail Reviews

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6/26/2018
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6/1/2011
My wife and I thouroughly enjoy this trail about 3-4 times a month. It's beautiful and everyone we cross on the trail is friendly. We usually bike around the lake for good exercise together. It's always clean of trash and debris, just a good trial altogether.
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1/18/2010
nice to know there still a touch of nature around the bigger cities that u can go to get away from the hussle and bussel of city life
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Salem Lake Trail Photos

Trail Information

Winston-Salem
Nearby City
Salem Lake Park
Local Contacts
USGS Winston-Salem East
Local Maps