Salem Lake Trail is a 7-mile loop around its namesake lake on a foot-friendly finely crushed gravel surface. Salem Lake is that rare Piedmont lake that has coves, but the trail itself eschews the quick, rollercoaster ups and downs common to most cove trails. Rather, this is a surprisingly flat, wide trail that combines the best of nature — a mature canopy and water — with a fast run.
If you find those 7 miles fly by too fast, tack on the adjoining 2.3-mile-long greenway that heads west from the lake. An out-and-back gives you 4 more fast flat miles, for a total of 11.6. And if you’re still not satisfied, when you get back to the lake do a reverse loop for a total of 18.6 miles — which is what the annual Salem Lake 30K Trail Run, http://www.twincitytc.org/Default.aspx?tabid=91 held in the fall, does.
Don’t miss the esthetics of this run. The richly forested trail and its proximity to water also makes this a prime spot for fall color. Running counterclockwise from the park’s main lot there’s an especially brilliant stretch of redbuds, red maples and dogwoods around the four-mile mark.
The foot-friendly surface should afford the occasional chance to ogle.
More info: Salem Lake Park
Maps: Downloadable here, also available at the park.
Getting there from downtown Winston-Salem
Difficulty: easy (length)
Length: 7 mile loop (additional 4-mile greenway option)
Distance: 10 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem
Time to complete: 1-2 hours
Address: 1001 Salem Lake Road