Lake Salem, Vermont, USA

Also known as:  Big Salem Lake, Little Salem Lake

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Lake Salem.

If you’re considering Lake Salem vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Lake Salem guide!

Lake Salem visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - New England - Vermont - Northeast Kingdom -

Salem Lake is nestled in Vermont’s breathtaking Northeast Kingdom and consists of Big Salem Lake and Little Salem Lake. Hayward Road Bridge spans the channel between the two lakes. Located in the Town of Derby, Salem Lake is a recreational paradise and can be enjoyed any time of year. Autumn brings vibrant colors, while winter provides the perfect climate for snow sports.

The Town of Derby was chartered in 1779 under a grant to 60 grantees. The southern part of Derby was originally chartered as Gatesborough, but when the grantees failed to pay their fees, the town was sold and chartered as Salem. However, the Town of Salem never fully developed; part of Salem was annexed to Newport in 1816, and the remainder became part of Derby in 1880. In addition to Lake Salem, the Town of Derby is also home to Lake Memphremagog, Derby Lake, Derby Pond, Clyde Pond, and Brownington Pond.

The Clyde River enters the southern portion of Little Salem Lake and exits through the northwestern tip of Big Salem Lake on its journey to Derby, Clyde Pond, and Newport. Whitewater enthusiasts may find Class I to Class IIl rapids as the Clyde River enters and exits each lake and pond. Scenic cedar-lined portions of the Clyde River offer a rewarding and breathtaking whitewater experience.

Quaint cottages dot the pristine shoreline of Salem Lake, providing excellent vacation getaways. Visitors can unwind on lake view decks while watching loons and ducks glide gracefully across the water. Real estate can be found around the lake as well as in Derby and other nearby towns including Newport.

Recreational activities at Salem Lake are numerous and include swimming, camping, boating and fishing. Anglers will find an abundance of bass, walleye and landlocked salmon. Additional fishing is made possible with access to the Clyde River where anglers enjoy fly fishing. The Clyde River is also great for canoeing and kayaking. With Salem Lake’s location in the Northeast Kingdom, referred to as the Switzerland of Vermont, many lake visitors have the added benefit of the stunning peaks of Burke, Owls Head and Jay Peak, which are popular locations for skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Vibrant autumns with crimson red, golden yellow, and vivid orange leaves make hiking and mountain biking through the woods of the Northeast Kingdom enjoyable activities. The Northeast Kingdom is also home to several championship level golf courses. Golfers, hikers and other sport enthusiasts can spend the day outdoors, and then unwind while leisurely sipping wine on their lakeside deck and watching a sunset over Salem Lake.

Located near the Canadian border, the Town of Derby is home to CANUSA Avenue, which has a yellow line in the middle of the road dividing Canada and the USA. Other scenic drives and day trips include Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont’s highest point, local museums, and historical sites. Travel back to the 19th century with a trip to Old Stone Museum located in the Brownington Village Historic District. The museum includes six buildings and a cemetery and is surrounding by beautiful Vermont farmland. The main feature of the museum is Athenial Hall which was built in the 1830s by Rev. Alexander Twilight, the first African-American college graduate and state legislator. Visitors can participate in county fairs, watch maple syrup operations, or even witness the sky fill up with colorful balloons during a hot air balloon festival.

Not only is Lake Salem an excellent place to visit, it is also a portal from which visitors can experience the best of New England’s hospitality. Salem Lake visitors can participate in the excitement of lake activities and then unwind in the comforts of their own personal vacation rental, while lake residents can enjoy the dazzling beauty of Salem Lake year round.

Custom Lake Salem house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Lake Salem

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lake Salem

  • Bass
  • Perch
  • Salmon
  • Walleye

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Salem

The Lake Salem map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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Lake Salem photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Lake Salem statistics & helpful links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 573 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 961 feet

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