Seven Outdoor Activities in the Greater Winston Salem Area

Seven Outdoor Activities in the Greater Winston Salem Area

Now more than ever, one of the best ways to socialize and find new ways to fill up all this pandemic-induced free time is to adventure outside. Although on the surface, Winston-Salem might not seem to have all that many exciting places to go, there are a few hidden gems around the city that can help you get your nature fix. Here’s a list of seven outdoor activities or places to explore in and around Winston Salem:

Reynolda Gardens

Perhaps the most accessible way to get outside and stay close to campus is by visiting the Reynolds Gardens. The gardens are on the grounds of the Reynolda House Museum, and they are only about a five minute walk or bike ride from anywhere on campus. The gardens are a great place to stroll on a first date, when you need a break from class or when you just want to get some fresh air. 

Pilot Mountain State Park

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This state park is one of the closest to Wake Forest’s campus, and it is well worth the 20 minute drive. Pilot Mountain is a great place to go on hikes that vary from a quick jaunt to an all day adventure. This is also a great spot if you are interested in outdoor climbing; there are an array of sport and toprope routes that are easily accessible. Pilot is a great place to visit on a weekend day or even in the afternoons to catch the sun set over Winston-Salem.

Photo courtesy of Maggie Burns

Hanging Rock State Park

Hanging Rock is another popular state park in the Winston-Salem area. This spot is more optimal for an all day venture, as it is about 45 minutes away from campus. In the park there are a variety of trails that take you up peaks and to several waterfalls. Hanging Rock is a lovely place to spend a Saturday exploring the woods all day. 

Photo courtesy of Olivia Field

Tanglewood Bike Trails 

Tanglewood Park is a great place for mountain bikers of any skill level. There are several trails that run throughout the park that are well-maintained and great for cross country mountain bikers. If you aren’t a biker, Tanglewood Park also has maintained gardens and an Arboretum for visitors to check out. Tanglewood is a fun spot for bikers or for just a stroll around the gardens. 

Photo courtesy of Emily Beauchamp

Salem Lake

Salem Lake offers fishing, boating, running, walking and biking. While you cannot swim there, the lake is relatively large with a running/walking/biking trail that borders it. The loop around the lake is about seven miles. This is a great spot to exercise out in nature, but is also a nice place to pack up a picnic and hang out for an afternoon. Salem Lake is also a great spot to go fishing.

Photo courtesy of Emily Beauchamp

Quarry Park

Quarry Park is an old rock quarry that has been beautified to accommodate visitors. The extraction of the rocks created a small lake that looks out over the Winston-Salem Skyline. There are some short trails around the park and there is an observation bridge that allows visitors to look out into the quarry. This is another great spot to catch the sunset because the skyline of the city catches the sun beautifully every evening; it’s also another lovely spot to have a picnic date. 

Photo courtesy of Emily Beauchamp

Belews Lake

Belews lake is about 45 minutes away from campus and is a fun place to go swimming if you were bummed about not being able to swim at Salem Lake. The fun thing about Belews is that it’s close to a Duke power plant, so the water is warm nearly all year long. There is a really awesome rope swing near the boat ramp it can be tricky to find, but it’s a blast when you do find it. If you aren’t interested in swimming, this is a great place to take paddle boards or kayaks and paddle around.

Photo courtesy of Emily Beauchamp

These are just a few of the fun things you can do in and around Winston-Salem. Get out there and explore!

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