Floracliff was established as a nature sanctuary by the late Dr. Mary Wharton, former botany professor and Biology Department head at Georgetown College. Dr. Wharton began acquiring the Floracliff property in 1958. The property is located on the Kentucky River in Fayette County. The Floracliff Board of Directors owns the preserve and jointly manages it with the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. This area was dedicated on March 15, 1996 as a State Nature Preserve. In 2017, an additional 59 acres was purchased and protected with an easement provided by the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund. This addition, known as Trail’s End, was part of a girls’ camp in the early 1900s and was the first addition to the sanctuary since Mary Wharton’s leadership. Floracliff currently owns and stewards 347 acres.
Floracliff is comprised of old field upland and second-growth forest dominated by maple, oak and hickory. In addition to having a rich and diverse wildflower display, Floracliff also harbors a significant geological feature. Below Elk Lick Falls is a tufa formation, which resembles a frozen waterfall. It is considered one of the best tufa formations in the eastern United States. Similar to stalagmites in caves, tufas are formed when minerals within dripping water are deposited on a surface. The formation is 61 feet high and 8-12 feet in diameter. The rich flora, ravines, cliffs and waterfalls of Floracliff make it one of the more scenic areas in central Kentucky.
The sanctuary is open for regularly scheduled guided hikes and programs or by appointment for small groups. There are also weekday volunteer opportunities for interested individuals and groups. Please visit the calendar of events
for upcoming programs.
Weekday private tours may be arranged for small groups of 5-20 people. Tours must be scheduled at least 2 weeks in advance. Private tours are $15/person and 1.5 – 3 hours depending on the chosen trails. To inquire about a private tour, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.