Great Blue Heron Loop
ElevationAscent: 139' 42 m
Descent: -143' -44 m
High: 820' 250 m
Low: 702' 214 m
GradeAvg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 5% (3°)
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“This is an easy, well-groomed hiking trail, and is quiet and serene.”— Jai Irvin
The trail is not accessed through the main entrance to the park, instead it uses the Iron Ore Belt Access which is on the west side of the park at 6068 N Church St, Greensboro, NC 27455.
There is ample parking and there are restroom facilities available. Many picnic tables ring the parking lot. The hours are different from the park proper which closes at 5 pm.
Iron Ore Belt Access' hours are:
November through February: 8am - 6pm
March, April, May, September, October: 8am - 8pm
June through August: 8am - 9pm
CLOSED CHRISTMAS DAY
The Great Blue Heron Loop does not start at the parking lot. Instead, it is accessed via a .2 mile connector trail designated by white circle blazes which ends at the first power line cut you come to. This is the beginning of the loop. Signs direct you to a clockwise trek as you begin to follow the orange square blazes. There are no signs discouraging a counter-clockwise direction but it may be difficult to find the start in that direction.
The entire trail is very user-friendly. There are no major climbs or descents. It passes the power cut in a different location, crosses a small field, follows an employee access track along the way, but mostly visitors will enjoy seeing lots of trees. Undergrowth is mostly grasses, so the trail feels much more open than you'd think.
NOTE: About half-way through the trail, you'll see on a small rise above the trail with picnic benches. You may want to bring a picnic :)
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Land Manager: North Carolina State Parks - Haw River State Park