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Great Blue Heron Loop



3.4 mile 5.4 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 139' 42 m
Descent: -143' -44 m
High: 820' 250 m
Low: 702' 214 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 5% (3°)


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Trail shared by Jai Irvin


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This is an easy, well-groomed hiking trail, and is quiet and serene.

Jai Irvin

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Wildlife

Family Friendly Very easy and very safe for all.

Closed Christmas Day. Dogs must be on leash (6' or shorter). No bicycles or motorized vehicles. List of complete rules is in parking lot but are the same at any of NC's State Parks.


Be careful, this route is not to be confused with the nearby multi-use Blue Heron Trail in Greensboro's Parks & Rec portfolio. This gem of a laid back trail is in the boundary of Haw River State Park. It is a new trail as of 2016 and there is not much description on the Haw River State Park website...yet. This is still kind of a hidden treasure.

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

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 :)

Flora & Fauna

Pine and mixed hardwood forest but there are plenty of grasses in the undergrowth. A distant wetland is visible at one point with the associated flora.

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Feb 26, 2018
Jennifer Marquardt
I liked the old root cellar and log cabin pieces at the beginning of the loop, but the rest of the trail was kind of boring. 3.4mi
Feb 23, 2018
John Walker
Feb 8, 2018
Rayne Britt
Jan 1, 2018
Beautiful trail. We'll maintained. Cold morning (12°!) 3.4mi
May 1, 2017
John Walker
Apr 2, 2017
John Walker

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 4 votes


  3.8 from 4 votes
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in North Carolina


15 Views Last Month
770 Since Sep 12, 2016



The stream feeding the lake.
Nov 14, 2016 near Summerf…, NC
Best view of elevation.
Nov 14, 2016 near Summerf…, NC
Picnic tables - a good place.
Nov 14, 2016 near Summerf…, NC
The 'lake' - more like a pond ;-)
Nov 14, 2016 near Summerf…, NC
Trees, water, and a clearing.
Nov 14, 2016 near Summerf…, NC


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