The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund purchased 365 acres of 749 total acres.
The original nature preserve was created on 256 acres in 1977. The additions from KHLCF funds almost doubled the size of the park to become the largest city park in Lexington. A former landfill section was cleaned up and reforested in 2012. The nature sanctuary is dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of the Kentucky River Palisades, the flora and fauna found there, and early Kentucky history. Raven Run is known for its outstanding spring wildflower display and has one of the best stands of Blue-eyed Marys in the entire state. Mixed in with the Blue – eyed Mary’s are bloodroot, twinleaf, nodding and sessile trillium, Dutchman’s breeches, squirrel corn, yellow and white trout lilies, rue and false rue anemone, wood poppies, lavender waterleaf and wild hyacinth. More than 650 species of plants have been observed in addition to 207 birds, 25 amphibians, 21 reptiles, and 10 fish. The area is approximately 70% forested with two primary forest types, calcareous mesic and sub-mesic. Dominant species found include sugar maple, white ash, Shumard and chinquapin oaks, bitternut and mockernut hickory, black walnut, black cherry, American basswood, Ohio buckeye, and American elm. The other communities include dense cedar thickets and tall fescue old fields including some that are reverting back to forest. Several old fields have been planted to native grasses. Three distinct historic structures can also be found including Evans Mill, a corn grinding grist mill built on a rock ledge and vertical cliff in the mid 1930’s to 1840. It ceased operation by 1850 due to roller or steam mills found in more accessible locations. The Prather house is an early 19th century farmstead owned by First Sergeant Baruch Prather a former Revolutionary War solider. The house was under construction in June 1800 and finished with a kitchen in 1812. The final structure is an old turn of the century lime kiln which was used for making quick lime for mortar, white wash, and other uses. There are more than 5 miles of historic dry stone fences in the preserve as well.
The site is open for passive recreation only and visitors are required to stay on the more than 10 miles of trails. No pets, ATV’s, horses, or bikes are allowed on the trails. For hours of operations and events, visit the Raven Run Nature Sanctuary page.
Take Richmond Road
east (out of Lexington) and turn right onto highway 25 (across from Jacobson
Park). Go approximately 3 ½ miles to Jack's Creek Pike and turn right (at Judy
Ray's Grocery Store). Go about 5 ½ miles on Jack's Creek Pike and Raven Run is
located on the left. A large chain-link fence and sign mark the entrance.
Parking is available at the lot at the end of the park entrance road.