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Hege Library & Learning Technologies

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.

Guilford College's campus is currently closed to visitors. This includes use of campus trails and spending time in our beautiful woods. Please explore virtual visit options.

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.

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.