Salem Lake Trail

North Carolina

23 Reviews

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Salem Lake Trail Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Forsyth
Length: 7 miles
Trail end points: Linville Rd. SE and Salem Lake Rd.
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Dirt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6429184

Salem Lake Trail Description

The Salem Lake Trail runs nearly 7 miles with a primarily dirt surface, circling Salem Lake at the park of the same name in the city of Winston-Salem. The park offers a 365-acre lake and the trail provides scenic lake views. Short paved sections near the marina on the west side of the lake are wheelchair accessible. 

You can also connect to the Salem Lake Greenway at the fishing station on the lake's west end, and take the greenway all the way to the mall on Peters Creek Parkway.

Trail users note: The park closes in the evening, so don't get locked in. Also, when the water overflows the dam, the back gate will be closed. Also note that there is no bank fishing allowed at Salem Lake. Only fishing from boats is permitted. 

Parking and Trail Access

The Salem Lake Trail is found at Salem Lake Park, 1001 Salem Lake Road.

Salem Lake Trail Reviews

Needs repairs

We usually ride this multiple times a week. Went last week and boy does it need some work all around the lake. Lots of wash outs and gullies that make it difficult to ride.

Good trail through the woods around the lake

Been biking and walking there many times. Good shady trail in the woods around the lake. Pretty crowded on weekends in nice weather. The trail is sandy/dirt and there are some roots/ washout at some places. Decently wide enough to pass someone. I've seen bikers, walkers, runners, dogs and an assortment of scooters and one wheel bikes. I believe it also doubles as bridle trail or at least it used to. Some hills but not too bad except for the ones right at the parking end of the lake. Glad for my e-bike on those. You can join up right from the trail to the Salem Greenway and skirt by town- although it is not as clean or safe in my opinion.

awesome 7 mile trail

Salem lake will always be my go too!!

Fabulous Trail

This is great 7 mile loop around beautiful Salem Lake. The trail is wide and generally well maintained. It’s crushed gravel or hard packed dirt and has a couple of spots where it rutted out a bit. But I ride it often and so do many other cyclists, runners, walkers, moms pushing strollers. So it’s not really a problem. Lots of wildlife to be seen; herons, deer, turtles. Drinking water is available at a couple of points on the loop and there are plenty of benches if you need a rest. Don’t forget to take your camera on this one!!


It was a nice way to end our Sunday/weekend! Plenty of cyclists but still enough room to walk with my partner and my doggie!!!!

It was a nice way to end our Sunday/weekend! Plenty of cyclists but still enough room to walk with my partner and my doggie!!!!

Salem Lake

Great local trail.

pretty but too crowded

Too many people. I like my walks more solitary, especially during a pandemic.

Enjoyable ride around Salem Lake a little elevation change but nothing to strenuous.

Enjoyable ride around Salem Lake a little elevation change but nothing to strenuous.

Great trail

I ran and walked this trail twice, and it definitely packs in a good workout. I love that it’s mostly (90%) shades so it makes for a good workout during hot summer days. I also like that there’s a water fountain at the beginning of the trail (near the parking lot by the playground) and at the halfway mark.

Beautiful trail right along water’s edge

90% shaded. 10-20 feet wide. Beautiful trail right along the water’s edge for most of the trail. 7+ miles , mostly flat, some hills. A couple of bathrooms, a couple of water fountains. Pedestrian dog and kid friendly. Lots of education signs along the way, that tell you about water , how to navigate downed trees, but also tell you how to bike up/down the hills safely. Recommend reading the bike instructions to small children. I think some of the short hills might be dangerous for them. Sand. Gravel. There were drain pipes under some parts of the trail to help prevent washouts , but I did ride over about a half-dozen small gulleys of washout. 6-to-12 inch gaps where you feel the bump bump. I rode on a beautiful day, but I suspect I would not have enjoyed the ride after a large rainfall. Lots of other things to do: playground, side trails to greenways, boat launching, and boat / kayak rentals (?), and fishing. Also, there was a zagster bike share option with a dozen bikes.

Salem Lake Trail

First ride around the lake last week. The leaves have really not started to change but when they do it will be nice. The ride was 7 miles. Not strenuous. Caught myself checking out nature and the wildlife and not paying attention to others on the trail. ;) Thinking of getting a bell for my bike to warn people I am coming up on them.

Beautiful trail

This is a very nice trail. As long as you don't mind running on hard sand/dirt you will enjoy it. Ran the loop around the lake, mostly shaded, majority level. If in the area, take a lap around. I'm sure it's beautiful in the fall.

Flat, better for running

I'd rank this trail a 2 or 3 if it was strictly for mountain biking. It's very flat, nice views of the lake, and pretty well maintained. Rode a mountain bike here from the hospital. Linked up with a greenway to get to the lake. Greenway was completely under water in two locations and shut down for bridge maintenance in another and slightly overgrown in places.

Would definitely recommend this trail for an awesome and relatively flat run. Good for biking if you know what to expect. Hammer out a few laps for cardio, perhaps. I'm sure I'll be back. Probably on a cyclocross bike!


I love Salem Lake great place for families to relax and have fun. The only problem is that there is restrooms.

Excellent Running Trail

I lived in the Winston area for about three years, and this was my favorite spot to run. There is ample shade (especially during the morning and evening hours). The terrain is nice and packed, and the trail in most places is quite wide. There are a couple short, steep hills (e.g., the dam area), but they actually help to break the otherwise-flat run up nicely. Look for great view of the W-S skyline when the leaves to start to fall. If you like some longer distances, make sure you go on the Salem Creek trail, which spurs off around the dam.

Salem Lake Trail

This is a great trail, I and my family keep going back it's a very nice and scenic trail and great for biking. One downside is there is no restrooms along the trail, otherwise it's a great trail!

Best Trail In Winston

I'm the out of town guy, used to riding trails at 30 - 35 mile distances, but when in Winston, this is the place. Good surface, varied terrain up and down a bit, even a wee steep bit or two, twisting around the coves of the lake. Water birds and reptiles watch your passage. Can get busy on those good days so stay focused around the turns. Attached to a paved Greenway that currently has a construction interruption at the town end.


Walked this trail today with my daughter for the first time.....It is absolutely gorgeous. It is clean, safe and well-maintained!

Great Escape

Just a few steps from the parking lot takes you into the great outdoors. The trail provides beautiful views of the new dam. Geese, ducks and numerous birds were visible today. Peaceful scenic views of the lake throughout most of the trail. Good fun and exercise for the whole family.

Beautiful and well-maintained

The (mostly gravel/dirt) trail is well-maintained and gives you a great view of Salem Lake. It is mostly flat with a few decent size hills during the 6.8 mile round trip. It also connects with the Salem Greenway, which you can use to extend your hike/run. There is a new, large parking area off of Linville Rd. Also there are a few large parking areas on the Reynolds Park side of the lake. The trails close at 5pm, but as long as you don't park your car inside the gates, you could technically stay on the trails at night (but I wouldn't recommend it).

A beautiful secluded lakeside trail

We are full time RV'ers and have been on many good trails. Yet this is in my top 2 , along with the New River Trail as being long, relatively easy to bike, run or walk and yet very scenic and very private. A real pleasure and a must return to.

Great trail

My husband, 8-year-old daughter and I rode this trail today. We rank it among our most favorite in this area. This was a wide, hard-packed trail with a very scenic view around the lake. Most of it was shady and there was a nice breeze coming off the lake. Trail is dotted along with benches and trash cans; no port-o-potties though.

Parking was good and while the trail was currently under construction at various places, signs were up along the trail to notify trail users in advance. Construction didn't cause any inconvenience and we were able to complete the whole loop around the lake. The signs said construction to be done by end of May, 2012.

There were a few areas that were hilly and my daughter couldn't ride up the hills, but very few. We saw lots of families walking and biking.

After we left, we hopped in the car and went to Old Salem Village for lunch. We will most certainly be doing this trail often!!

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