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 viburnums. 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.
Access: Reservation Only
Due to the harmful increase in traffic to the site and the ecological significance of the Preserve, a reservation policy will be instituted. Please make your reservations at www.jessamineco.com. If you have any questions, please contact the County Judge/Executive’s Office at 859-885-4500.
Jessamine County Fiscal Court observes a deed of conservation easement with the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation establishing these guidelines for usage:
- Please stay on designated trail
- No entry into water
- No hunting or fishing
- No littering
- No illegal activity
- Do not remove disturb or deface minerals, archeological features or other natural features
- Do not disturb or remove flora, fauna, soil, rocks or other components
- Do not collect anything from the property.
- No animals shall be brought onto the property
- No motorized vehicles or bikes
- No Camping
- No Fire or grills
- No Drones
- Must be at least 15 years of age or with a guardian