The remains of an old rocky road are visible where flat schistic rocks have been placed side by side in and beside the stream. The Conservancy’s “Kelly’s Run Pinnacle Preserve” now encompasses the Conservancy’s Kelly’s Run trails, the former PPL Pinnacle preserve and the former PPL Holtwood Nature Preserve.
Planning Your Walk
This preserve has mostly steep climbing from about 400 to 700 feet elevation, but there is a well-used equestrian path, and deer trails. The route along the stream is fairly level.
The westernmost part of the tract, with a small tributary to Kelly’s Run, has a cobblestone trail which allows easy access to this beautiful spot.
Want to learn more about biological diversity at this preserve?
Check out the Biological Survey of the Holtwood Preserve created by Millersville University Students and Professors here: Biological Survey
Please share your findings with the Lancaster County Conservancy at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly’s Run, which meanders through one corner of the preserve, is a direct tributary of the Susquehanna River. A small tributary as clear and pristine as Kelly’s Run itself runs along 500 feet of the western border of the preserve.
A large area around the small tributary has large, straight, mature timber. The major portion of the preserve contains mostly oaks and maples. Spring wildflowers are abundant, as are flowering trees, including several forms of the common blue violet along with marsh blue, dog and yellow wood, and two species of tiny white violets. May apples, wild geranium, Solomon’s seal, cucumber root, dwarf ginseng, harbinger of spring, Jack-in-the-pulpit, blue cohosh, rue anemone, and bloodroot are widespread.
In season the pink flowers of red bud (Cercis canadensis), the showy white bracts of dogwood (Cornus florida), and the less conspicuous flowers of sassafrass and viburnum can be found. The spectacular blossoms of wild azalea, largeleaf rhododendron and our state flower the laurel (Kalmia latifolia) grow nearby. Pawpaw trees are here, with burgundy flowers in spring and custardy fruit in autumn. Many common ferns are found here. Rare or unusual kinds exist among the large cliffs, caves and rock falls on the hillside above Kelly’s Run.
Hillside seeps and marshy vegetation sustain many amphibians. Different species of salamander, opossums, deer, turkey and even the occasional house cat can often be found on the preserve. The preserve is a haven for bird watchers as well, and depending on the time of year one can spot finches, vireos, warblers, woodpeckers, buntings, sparrows, and nuthatches, as well as raptors like hawks and vultures.
Approximately 17 miles, 30 minute drive from Lancaster City, follow PA 324 south for approximately 9.6 miles, take a left on River Rd and follow for 4.6 miles. Turn right on Pinnacle Rd W. Follow Pinnacle Rd W toward Pinnacle overlook where parking is located.
To access preserve, follow the red blazed trail which proceeds beyond the gate on Old Pinnacle Rd.