This nature preserve is one of the “gems” of the palisades region of the Kentucky River. The site contains more than 560 species of plants including seven rare species and forests that support a rich spring wildflower display and habitat for endangered bats. The narrow and steep slopes of the gorge and associated cliffs gives rise to forest communities ranging from alluvial stream floodplain forests dominated by sycamore, box elder and silver maple, to very dry narrow rocky ridges or “points” where many of the rare species including cleft phlox, mountain lover, Walter’s violet, and purple oat grass occur. Other rare species known include Downy and soft-leaf arrowwood , water stitchwort and snow trillium. The moist slope forest communities are dominated by sugar maple and northern red oak with white and chinquapin oak, basswood, white ash, and Ohio buckeye. Smaller trees include bladdernut, flowering dogwood, and American hophornbeam. This plant community has a rich spring wildflower display with bloodroot, twinleaf, hepatica, purple phacelia, sessile trillium, rue and false rue anemone, wild ginger and many other species. Moving upslope to the drier habitats, the forest community changes composition and chinquapin oak and blue ash dominate with red cedar and rock elm becoming common. Understory species include redbud, Carolina buckthorn, and vibrunums. The upland flat ridge tops and blufftops are dominated by a variety of oaks including white, post, shingle, and black and shagbark, pignut and mockernut hickories.
Due to access issues, the public is currently limited to special guided hikes offered by the Jessamine County Fiscal Court. If you visit the area, in order to protect rare species habitat please stay on offical trails and do not hike in the creeks or adjacent land.