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Underground Railroad in Guilford College Woods

Although the Underground Railroad network was secretive and no blueprint for it survives, it is generally agreed that a southern terminus was centered around the New Garden community in Guilford County, North Carolina.

Self Guided Tour to the Underground Railroad Tree

Trail begins at Trailhead (drop-off area with very limited parking, marked with wooden posts) beyond College Lake on left (see map).  

No parking allowed along road. Utilize Visitor Parking spaces for multiple cars and buses (see campus map). 

Best to visit during daylight hours. Please "leave no trace" and note that there are current residences in the woods.

Trail is simulation of how fugitives seeking freedom navigated in these very woods, with assistance from free and enslaved African-Americans and European-American allies. Leads to champion tulip poplar tree, over 300 years old, known as the Underground Railroad Tree.

We cannot know if this tree served as a guide to assist enslaved runaways seeking freedom, but know it was present at that time and place. This tree was a silent witness; we encourage visitors to pause on viewing platform and reflect on its symbolism. 

See The History and the Stories for further information.

Tours for School Groups

Guilford County Schools 4th, 8th and 11th grades utilize curriculum developed with the support of the Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation to learn about Underground Railroad activities which took place locally, including a field trip option to visit the Guilford College Woods. Teachers at any school interested in booking tours can contact the Tour Scheduler using this request form. For more specific questions: undergroundrr@guilford.edu or 336.316.2442. 

Tours last 1 - 1.5 hours (beginning at Trailhead). 

Our goal is to share the information we have about this essential and incredible piece of United States history that was experienced in our woods, and are happy to accommodate private as well as public school groups. Please note that priority in scheduling is given to public school classes which are using this special curriculum. 

Other Guided Tour Opportunities

As guides are available*, we offer opportunities for groups not associated with schools to book tours. Our goal is to share the information we have about this essential and incredible piece of United States history that was experienced in our woods, and we are happy to accommodate requests as possible. Please use this request form and the Tour Scheduler will contact you. For more specific questions: undergroundrr@guilford.edu or 336.316.2442.

Tours last 1 - 1.5 hours (beginning at Trailhead). 

Please note that priority in scheduling is given to public school classes which are using this curriculum. 

We do not require non-profit organizations to contribute, but organizations which can afford to make a donation are encouraged to do so. Anyone is welcome to contribute to Guilford College and designate the gift to the Friends Center for trail maintenance and improvement. See http://www.guilford.edu/giving/index.aspx for information on ways to give. Thank you!

Guilford Class Tours

Guilford College classes can learn, through tours by trained guides*, about the courageous collaboration of enslaved and free African-Americans and European-Americans, as part of the Underground Railroad in the New Garden (now Guilford) Woods. 

Professors interested in booking tours can contact the Tour Scheduler using this request form. For more specific questions: undergroundrr@guilford.edu or 336.316.2442.

* We sometimes have an Open tour option while the College is in session. Fall 2018 times TBD. Meeting place is the Friends Center (see campus map).

Tours last 1 - 1.5 hours (beginning at Trailhead). 

Please note that priority in scheduling is given to public school classes which are using the Underground Railroad curriculum.

See section above on Self-Guided Tour to the Underground Railroad Tree.