This is a recreation managed preserve
Benton Hollow was donated by Henry H. Huffnagle in 1996. In 2017, Ferncliff Wildflower and Wildlife Preserve was recognized as a National Natural Landmark because of the old-growth forest that has been maintained here. There are wildflowers galore in spring. This preserve’s hillsides offer some of the best examples of River Hills woodland. Tulip trees, beeches, hemlocks, sweet birches, red, chestnut, and white oak, sycamore, sugar and red maple, ironwood, and the redbud. In the fall many groves of pawpaw yield succulent, edible fruit. You will also see rhododendron and mountain laurel in abundance.
approximately 77.904 acres
Planning Your Walk
There is an unpaved road from Bald Eagle Road to the river which permits easy access for hikers, but is closed to motorized traffic. The locked gate at the entrance prevents vehicular traffic. The hike to the river is pleasant and comfortable. The total trail length is estimated at 1.4 miles round trip.
Because it is a wildlife sanctuary, hunting, fishing, and horseback riding are prohibited.
What to See & Do
The beautiful wooded ravine formed by Barnes Run is a direct tributary of the Susquehanna River, main freshwater source of the Chesapeake Bay.
Since 1972, Ferncliff has been recognized as a National Natural Landmark, because of the old growth forest that has been maintained here. There are wildflowers galore in spring, including three unusual ones, round-leaved stemless violet (Viola rotundifolia), putty root (Aplectrum hyamale), and cranefly orchis (Tipularia discolor). The latter two are orchids, not beautiful, but different, sending up a solitary oval leaf in the fall, and a flower the following spring.
But it is the trees of Ferncliff that make it so special. This preserve’s hillsides offer some of the best examples of River Hills timberland. Tulip trees, beeches, hemlocks, sweet birches, red, chesnut, and white oak, sycamore, sugar and red maple, ironwood, and the glory of Pennsylvania woods, the redbud. In the fall many groves of pawpaw yield succulent, edible fruit. You will also see rhododendron and mountain laurel in abundance.
Birds are abundant, including bald eagles, which may be seen soaring overhead from their nearby nesting and hunting grounds along the river.
Summer: Rhododendron and mountain laurel
Address: 1650 Benton Hollow Rd, Drumore, PA 17518
Bald Eagle Rd parking area coordinates (decimal degrees): 39.78259, -76.24274 (parking is limited)
From Lancaster, follow PA 272 south through Willow Street to the Buck. Continue three miles, then turn right on Chestnut Level Road at Valley View Restaurant. Continue on Chestnut Level Road to River Road. Left on River Road, first right on Slate Hill Road, right on Harmony Ridge Road, across Furniss Road, to left on Bald Eagle Road. This road leads down a hill; Ferncliff Wildlife and Wildflower Preserve is at the bottom of the hill on the right.
Prevent Tick Borne Illness!
- Wear repellent
- Check for ticks after your visit
- Shower soon after being outdoors
- Call your doctor if you get a fever or rash
For more information: www.cdc.gov/lyme
In case of emergency, call 911
Nearest Hospital: Lancaster General Hospital – 21 miles
555 N Duke St, Lancaster, PA 17602
Rawlinsville Fire Company, non-emergency number: (717) 284-3023;
Robert Fulton Fire Company, non-emergency number: (717) 548-8995
PA State Police, non-emergency number: 717-299-7650