In 1986 the Conservancy acquired a 14.8 acre property from John F, Pyfer, Jr. and his wife, Carol T. Pyfer who designated the lands as the “Pyfer Nature Preserve” in honor of John’s parents, John F. and Myrtle G. Pyfer, who passed away in 1985. The Pyfer family has a long history of caring about the conservation of natural lands and outreach in the community. Their dedication lives on today with their significant contributions to the Boys Scouts of America and other conservation initiatives throughout the county. This tract of land is located adjacent to the Conservancy’s other 12 parcels acquired from 1983 to 2003 which together form Tucquan Glen. The Conservancy is thankful for the commitment of the Pyfer family and many others who have preserved natural areas in this special region of Lancaster County.
Planning Your Walk
The Pyfer Nature Preserve sits next to the Susquehanna River and Conrail railroad tracks on the west side of the preserve. If you look closely during your hike you may see remnants of human activity including the old cabin steps down the slope and non native species such as daylily & English Ivy.
This preserve seamlessly adjoins the larger Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve. A mostly abandoned dirt road and well-worn trail meander through the heart of the ravine for nearly a mile. Occasionally the road and trail run together for short distances, but are generally apart. We suggest taking the trail down to the railroad and returning via the road. The round trip trail through the Tucquan Glen Nature Preserveand Pyfer Nature Preserve length is estimated at 2.4 miles.
Opportunities to hike abound through these preserve areas.
Things to See & Do
Six-mile long Tucquan Creek, and its tributary Clark Run, are designated Pennsylvania Wild and Scenic Rivers, and are direct tributaries of the Susquehanna River, draining to the Chesapeake Bay.
This is perhaps the most pristine and scenic of the seven ravines which open into the Susquehanna River in this area. A rhododendron and hemlock canopied trail follows Tucquan creek from River Road to the Susquehanna River. The initial two-thirds of this glen are beautiful and peaceful; the lower glen is wild and rugged with small waterfalls attracting your attention.
Animals sighted on the preserve include copperheads, coyote, fox, and deer. Birds include nesting worm-eating warblers, indigo buntings, belted kingfishers, and eastern phoebes. Pileated woodpeckers and great horned owls are year-round residents.
Spring: Native serviceberry, pawpaw, and wildflowers, at least 35 varieties, including trilliums.
Summer: Lush, cool, and green. Over 20 species of ferns and 40 species of trees
Fall: Colorful foliage
Winter: Allow more time when snow and ice are on the trail
Directions to River Road, Martic Township.
From Lancaster, follow PA 272 south through Willow Street to Smithville. Right on Pennsy Road just before stone arch railroad bridge. Follow Pennsy Road four miles to Martic Forge. Left on River Road three miles to preserve and three well-marked parking areas.