Ferncliff Wildlife & Wildflower Preserve

1650 Benton Hollow Rd. | Drumore Township

 

Ferncliff has a lot packed into one preserve. Maintained by the Lancaster Conservancy, it is recognized as a National Natural Landmark (the only one in Lancaster County) and is a Dedicated Forest in the Old Growth Forest Network because of the old growth forest that includes beeches, red maple, sycamore and chestnut, just to name a few. In the spring there is an abundance of wildflowers. Rhododendron and mountain laurel grow throughout the preserve and paw paw trees bear fruit in the fall. Bald eagles nest nearby as well as many other species of birds. The main trail follows and crosses over Barnes Run, a direct tributary of the Susquehanna River.



The main trail is level and wide and there is only one significant water crossing towards the end of the trail. Parking can be limited and is mostly along the road. If you go beyond the preserve, past the train tracks, there are stairs that lead you down to a stony beach along the Susquehanna. It's the perfect spot to skip stones.

 

Distance : 2 miles of trails

Terrain: dirt | water | wooded

Difficulty: Rare to Medium Well

Activities: hiking | trail running | creek stomping | birding | leashed dogs

Parking: pull-offs

Restrooms: no

Website: lancasterconservancy.org



 

Blue Trail | 1.5 mile out and back

Rare/Medium Rare | 20-45 min

This trail is a level dirt road that starts at the gate at the beginning of the preserve. The trail technically ends where the Overlook Trail begins, but the dirt road continues on until you reach the edge of the preserve. I've added that extra length to the total distance. Just before the edge of the preserve you will need to cross over the water. The trail can be quite muddy at spots but there are no major obstacles along the way.


Overlook Trail (white trail) | .5 mile out and back

Medium/Medium Well | 10-30 min

There is signage indicating where the blue trail ends and the overlook trail begins. To start this trail you will need to cross over the creek. The narrow trail is very steep, but it is short and it leads to a view of the Susquehanna River. The view is a bit obstructed by trees. In the spring this trail is abundant with wildflowers. The forest floor is covered with them as you near the top.

 

Directions:

From Lancaster take US-222 S and PA- 272 S for 16.6 miles

Right onto Slate Hill Rd.

Right onto Benton Hollow Rd.

Right onto Bald Eagle Rd.

Slight Left onto Wildlife Preserve Rd.

Preserve is on the left



 

Nearby Trails:

Fishing Creek Preserve

 


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