Blue Heron Trails

Blue Heron Trails

Blue Heron Trails environmental education site provides accessible year-round trails for visitors and school groups along restored wetlands and upland habitat just minutes outside the city.


  • Welcome to Blue Heron Trails!

    Open daily, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    • No dogs or pets
    • Restrooms are open; restrooms are non-flush
    • NO overnight parking or leaving vehicles in lot all day unattended.  Vehicles left overnight or all day unattended may or will be towed at owners expense.
    • Stay on concrete pathways only. Going off trail into closed areas may result in a citation.


      What to Bring
      To enhance your visit, we recommend: water, sunscreen, hat, snacks, insect repellent, camera, field guides, binoculars, walking shoes, wear layers, and any other personal comfort items you may need.  The trails and facilities are accessible, so mobility equipment such as strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs are welcome. 

      What NOT to Bring
      Sorry, but dogs/pets must stay at home. Remember, this is a special habitat and we want to minimize disturbance to wildlife.  Please see the Rules and Regulations page for more information. 

      Blue Heron Trails is located south of Sacramento, just outside of Elk Grove.  From Sacramento, travel south on Interstate 5 and take the Hood Franklin Road exit.  At the stop sign, turn right, heading west for about one mile.  The entrance sign and turn lane will be on your left. Please note, Blue Heron Trails hours are from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  

      Please note that directions from the internet are often wrong!  Please use the directions above.

      Additional Important Tidbits (please read)
      An accessible paved trail consists of a mile of loops around managed wetlands hosting various migrants such as hawks, shorebirds, Sandhill cranes and waterfowl.  The best time of year to view migratory birds is October - May.  Although young trees have been planted, there will be little shade as you walk, so please be prepared for being exposed to the sun. An accessible non-flush restroom is available at the parking lot.  This is a great opportunity to get the family outdoors and learn something new about your wild neighbors at one of the several educational kiosks.  Remember, the wildlife is sharing the refuge with us, so please respect their home and minimize disturbance. For more information on the best time of year to see different birds and wildlife, please see the Seasons of Wildlife page.

      Refuge Programs and Brochures
      For more information on other visitor programs, please checkout the Visitor Activites page or the Events Calendar

      Refuge Brochure  11.2 MB pdf

      Refuge Bird List   11.7 MB pdf


    • Educational Kiosks

      Blue Heron Trails Kiosks

      Along Blue Heron Trails are eight environmental education panels on four kiosks (two panels on each kiosk), each with a different theme.  The panels are aligned with the State of California Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) for grades K-6, and incoorproated into the "Bee" the Biologist' progam and field journal activities.  Educators are encouraged to take advantage of these educational kiosks on their field trips to enhance lesson objectives and activities.

    • Project BudBurst

      Project Budburst

      A nationwide Citizen Science project, Stone Lakes has partnered with Project BudBurst to monitor long-term climate change on seasonal timing of plant flowering, fruiting, etc.  Anyone can participate, and all you have to do is write what you observe for any of our 10 selected plants and then input your data on the Project BudBurst webpage for Stone Lakes. The plants that were picked to monitor can all be found on Blue Heron Trails. It's a great way to engage your class outdoors while lending your nature observations to a science monitoring project!

       Learn More

    • Environmental Education

      Environmental Education

      Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about the wildlife, plants, habitats and ecology of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge?  Contact the refuge to check on program availability and reservation policies.  Refuges are wild places, and we want to teach you more about them!

      Learn More
    • Other Local Nature Areas