Feeling At Home in Lancaster, Naturally!

Explore the Local Nature Preserves of Lancaster Conservancy

Pinnacle Scenic Overlook, Photo by Michael Robinson Photography

"One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken." Leo Tolstoy

The Lancaster Conservancy was founded in 1969 by a small group of hunters, anglers, and naturalists who set out to acquire and protect our critical forests, wetlands, and streams, using the premise that some land is so beautiful, so rare, so natural it should be protected for public benefit, forever! 

Currently, the Conservancy owns and manages 50 nature preserves on over 8,200 acres throughout Lancaster and York counties that are open to the public for recreation 365 days per year. The wonderful and protected natural areas highlighted below are just a small sampling of some of the best preserves in Lancaster. 

Check out much more information on all the preserves and the work of Lancaster Conservancy at www.lancasterconservancy.org/preserves.

Pinnacle Scenic Overlook Nature Preserve – 139 Acres, Coordinates: 39.846116, -76.339454
Planning Your Hike: This preserve provides visitors with a spectacular view from the scenic overlook and offers over 2.76 miles of moderate and difficult network of hiking trails that provide in-and-back, short, day, and loop hiking trails of varying lengths. From Pinnacle Scenic Overlook hikers can access Kellys Run and Tucquan Glen/Pyfer Nature Preserves and beyond via the Conestoga Trail. Parking. Port-a-john. Picnic tables.

Kellys Run Nature Preserve – 458 Acres, 9 New Village Rd., Holtwood
Planning Your Hike: Kellys Run Trail is 3.8-mile loop traversing difficult and steep terrain that requires multiple stream crossings and scrambles across bedrock and boulders. As part of the Conestoga Trail, Kellys Run Nature Preserve is connected to Pinnacle Overlook by a network of trails. Pollinator Park at Kellys Run is an innovative project that seeks to restore 14 acres of an abandoned community park into pollinator and wildlife habitat. Parking. Port-a-john. Pavilion. 

Climbers Run Nature Center – 113 Acres, 226 Frogtown Rd., Pequea 
Planning Your Hike: Climbers Run beckons visitors to enjoy a picnic lunch at the historic barn or in the meadow by the cabins, explore the two miles of hiking trails meandering through shady woodlands along an eastern brook trout stream and over hills to open meadows. Keep your eyes open for bluebirds, toads, painted turtles, skunk cabbage, wild turkey, and a diversity of wildlife in every season. This preserve is a great place to reflect in nature and provide an outdoor classroom experience for youth and families. Visitors can also explore the Climbers Run Natural Playground, where children (and adults too!) can experience tall tee-pees, climb logs, or wander over a footbridge to see the stream. Be prepared to get a little dirty and find inspiration in a forested playground. Parking lot. 

Ferncliff Wildlife and Wildflower Preserve – 65 Acres, 1650 Benton Hollow Rd., Drumore 
Planning Your Hike: Easy then difficult climb. Follow the blue-blazed trail along the unpaved road from Bald Eagle Road through the Preserve to the sign pointing north, across the stream to the Winter Overlook. Follow the white-blazed trail up a steep ravine and switch back across the riverside ridge to the winter overlook. The locked gate at the entrance prevents unauthorized vehicular traffic. The hike to the river is pleasant and comfortable. There is one ford across the creek. Limited parking. 

Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve – 940 Acres, 835 Gault Rd., East Earl
Planning Your Hike: Easy to moderate. Multiple loops, including a half-mile (fully forested) Universally Accessible Trail, and the opportunity to extend hikes well into the adjacent Money Rocks County Park. All open trails are clearly blazed in what is the Conservancy’s largest Lancaster County Preserve. ADA parking. Universally Accessible trail. 

Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve – 92 Acres, Green Hill Rd., Conestoga (Green Hill Road south of the Preserve is CLOSED)
Planning Your Hike: The easy-to-hike trail to the preserve begins at the kiosk near the culvert at Grubb Hollow. The trail is approximately 1.7 miles in length and is renowned for wildflower walks in the springtime. A connector trail joins the Shenks Ferry Trail to the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail.
Limited parking.

Get Involved!
The Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust, proud to work with dedicated volunteers who love to support preserve work days, spend time in nature, and connect with new people. 

Register for volunteer workdays and events at: www.lancasterconservancy.org/events/.