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Blue Heron Trail



3.4 mile 5.5 kilometer point to point
100% Runnable


Ascent: 92' 28 m
Descent: -95' -29 m
High: 750' 229 m
Low: 721' 220 m


Avg Grade: 1% (1°)
Max Grade: 5% (3°)


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Trail shared by Jai Irvin


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A fun, easy-ish trail along the north bank of Lake Townsend.

Jai Irvin

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Trails are open from dawn to dusk.

Runner Notes

This would be a decent run. There are roots to watch out for. There are some quick inclines and declines (bumps) intended for mountain biking so these may pose some challenges. On my Sunday afternoon out-and-back, I encountered one runner.


This trail traverses between Church Street and Yanceyville Rd in Greensboro. It roughly follows the north bank of Lake Townsend. It is to the north bank what the Osprey Trail is to the south bank.

The east trailhead is off of Yanceyville. There is adequate parking that includes a port-a-potty. The west trailhead is on Church Street. Parking there is along the side of the road, and it is shared between Blue Heron and the east trailhead of Reedy Fork Trail.

This is a fun route. However, since it is a multi-use trail, you must be vigilant for mountain bikers. On this trail, they are frequent enough that brightly colored clothing is suggested for visibility.

From Church Street, the trail follows Reedy Fork Creek. It is a slow moving, wide creek that flows from Lake Brandt to Lake Townsend. There are built boardwalks and bridges as some of the land on the bank can get moist.

The creek opens into a natural marsh on the west side of Lake Townsend. It is a special marsh view. The water channels through grassy hillocks. The trail stays clear of it to the north so there is no difficulty on the trail.

Traveling further, one will begin to encounter hardwood forests. The trail meanders from the lake's shore deeper into the forest. The trail developers were concerned more for quality of experience and did not pick the straightest line. There are several utility cuts along this trail, and at one point, it travels south along the west side of a cut, crosses it, and then moves to the north on the east side.

A pine forest with limited undergrowth makes for a welcome change. It is very serene and quiet. The trail eventually meanders to the east trailhead.

As this is part of the Greensboro Watershed trails, it is well-cared for. And as it includes access for mountain biking, the Greensboro Fat Tire Society also has a hand in development and maintenance.

Flora & Fauna

There are several varieties of forest along the trail. Hardwood forest makes way for pine forest to become utility cuts with high brush and grasses. Many squirrels, chipmunks, and the occasional deer.


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Feb 18, 2017
Magnus Edwards

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