Kernersville Lake Park: Anytime Delight

By Renee Skudra

In hard times one especially needs a sanctuary. One of my very favorites is Kernersville Lake Park, situated just north of downtown Kernersville. This beautiful relaxing place offers year-round outdoor recreation and carefully attended-to nature preservation by its friendly and diligent staff. Originally the 1952 lake was the water source for the town’s residents until the time that Kernersville began utilizing city and county utility water lines. Consequent to that, the park was closed for some time to the public. Interest in the place eventually began swelling and Forsyth County Parks & Recreation came on board to develop and operate the park although the Town of Kernersville actually possessed ownership. On June 1, 1990 Kernersville Lake Park officially opened to much fanfare, showcasing its grand total of 160 acres of which 60 acres comprised a shining blue lake.  

There are numerous amenities at Kernersville Park Lake which include a picnic shelter with picnic tables and grills (especially nice are the covered areas for family gatherings), children’s playground and the opportunity to rent a brightly colored paddleboat or rowboat – both for a surprisingly inexpensive cost.  One can fish in the lake from either a boat or on the bank and a few docks are available to cast your line from as well.  Visitors can also enjoy the sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits, and lakeside picnicking in the great outdoors, surrounded by the virtual embrace of tall and regal trees, all of which just beg to be photographed.  Should your party be interested in the rental shelter option, it is spacious, seating 150 folks.  The facilities are wheelchair accessible and there is free parking and (personally observed) very clean restrooms. Dogs are welcome but must be on leash at all times and the two that I saw on my visit – both golden retrievers – seemed to be having the time of their lives traversing the well-manicured and amply grassy grounds.

A lovely walking trail encircles approximately half of the lake.  There is a 1,500’ paved path as well as a 725’ natural trail, both of which are particularly good for the casual walker. The trails wind through the woods and both are largely flat and easy to navigate. There is abundant opportunity to sit a spell on a bench and bask in the shade while observing picturesque water views. Seats are scattered about to welcome a weary traveler and the environment is serene, quiet, and clean. The park is beautifully landscaped with river birches, crepe myrtles and trees native to the area. On my visit there I had the opportunity to speak with Evan, one of the park attendants, who enthusiastically talked about the park’s numerous virtues including the fact that it is easily accessible and a place where patrons often mention how safe they feel. He particularly emphasized how family-friendly this retreat is, mentioning that park rules prohibit alcoholic beverages on the premises and “abusive language and/or behavior” which “may result in expulsion from the park.”

One of the greatest joys of spending time at Kernersville Lake Park is undoubtedly the chance to observe the abundant wildlife.  According to the website, species of birds observed at the lake include Eastern bluebirds, European starlings, black vultures, red-bellied woodpeckers, ruby-crowned kinglets, cedar waxwings, yellow-rumped warblers, and brown-headed cowbirds. A park ranger also mentioned having seen eagles, red-tailed hawks, house finches, ring-necked ducks, plenteous Canada Geese and mourning doves. All told, there have been sightings of 104 species of birds which will thrill beginning birders and well-seasoned ornithologists. There is also the usual array of turtles, squirrels, butterflies, occasional deer, and snakes (including some which inhabit the water). One visitor also reported seeing a beaver, busily plying his dam building trade! Admittedly, I am happy that I did not run into any snakes, either the allegedly good or more threatening “bad” varieties although due to a phobia, I warily kept my eye open for any of those slippery, sliding fellows.

The park attendant also mentioned that there is great largemouth bass fishing at the lake which additionally counts in its pristine waters bluegill, white crappie, and channel catfish. The lake is stocked regularly and you can take your pick of shoreline fishing, fly fishing, or just sharing “the one that got away” fish stories with any interested parties. Keep in mind that the park is closed on Wednesdays and there is no swimming at the lake.  Fishing is free but if you are over the age of sixteen, you need to have a fishing license. Whether you decide to go fishing or not, the lake is an absolute visual delight and oasis for anyone seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life with the added benefit of fresh air and fun. When you walk around the lake, you can spot Belews Creek which feeds into its water and also exits from it.

Be sure to take a camera on your outing to the park. A good pair of walking shoes is a must as well. A few friends or family members in tow makes the experience complete! The park is located at 6408 Old Valley School Road and is open six days a week from 6:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.

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