Climbers Run Nature Preserve

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About This Preserve

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 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.

The property contains two miles of hiking trails. There are three main trails:

Climbers Run Trail (blue trail): Start the trail at the upper or lower parking area and cruise the loop to see the various types of habitat Climbers Run has to offer. Crossing the stream may mean getting your feet wet–except for the dry season (July and August)–so come prepared.

Climbers Hollow Trail (white trail): This trail to the east provides a scenic view of cascading waterfalls tumbling over rock through forested terrain.

Camp Trail (yellow trail): Visitors leave from the Center and follow the pathway to the pond and over the existing old footbridge to the meadow area by the lower cabins. From the meadow there are two ways to access the Climbers Run Trail (blue trail). Enjoy a picnic lunch by the stream.

There are several old logging roads or trails not included on the map that are under review for improvements.

Climbers Run cascades through pristine forests to lowlands and meanders to the Pequea Creek and eventually the Susquehanna River to the Bay.  A stroll along the rushing water tempts the senses of visitors, evoking a feeling of Lancaster County long before development and deforestation. Climbers Run holds a rare treasure: wild brook trout, which are found only where forested buffers provide clean, cold water essential to this species survival. A pond fed by natural springs is located near the historic house.

This preserve demonstrates Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as a rain garden, meadows, riparian buffer, and a stream restoration project that keeps this wild trout stream clean and attracts all kinds of wildlife. The Conservancy partnered with Donegal Trout Unlimited who led the restoration project investing over $140,000 to restore 2,400 feet of stream and managing more than 16 acres of invasive understory.

Please Note: Visitors may be asked to refrain from visiting the preserve during Summer Camp activities June through October between 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. A schedule of open/closed dates and times will be posted.

Natural Playground

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.

The Natural Playground spans over 2-acres beneath a forested canopy along Climbers Run, a native brook trout stream. This space encourages free play among the trees using nature’s building supplies (sticks, twigs, bark, rocks, mud, leaves, pine cones, etc.) with the sound of Climbers Run as a beautiful backdrop. A space that beckons children, families, and visitors to deepen their understanding and appreciation of nature.

Thank you to our partners for making the Natural Playground possible: Clark Associates Inc., Highmark Construction LLC, Excentia TimberNook of Lancaster, Donegal Trout Unlimited, Boy Scouts of America, and our strong volunteer core.

Ecology and Management

This Preserve is dominated by tree species such as oaks, hickory, dogwood, ash, tulip poplar, some hemlock and white pine, and sycamores. Below the canopy you can find various shrub species such as smooth hydrangea, spicebush, mountain laurel, and rosebay rhododendron. An abundance of ferns, violets, mayapple, Solomon’s seal, and other wildflowers can also be found. Woodland edges and dry to wet meadows showcase skunk cabbage, turk’s cap lily, swamp milkweed, asters, goldenrods and native grasses throughout the season. The Conservancy is actively managing invasive species including garlic mustard, tree of heaven, exotic honeysuckles, multiflora rose, and Norway maple that are competing with desirable native vegetation.

Spring: Native woodland wildflowers including trout lily, spring beauty, false hellebore, and trees and shrubs like swamp azalea, dogwoods, redbuds, and more.
Summer: Joe pye weed, phlox, cardinal flower, and elderberry highlight this season and along with a diversity of pollinator-loving native plants.
Autumn: Colorful fall foliage of native deciduous trees like oaks, black gum, shrubs including winterberry, shrub dogwoods, and herbaceous plants including asters and goldenrods.

Over 90 bird species have been observed at Climbers Run including ruby-throated hummingbirds, northern cardinals, turkey vultures, bluebirds, wood ducks, pileated woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, and Carolina wrens. Twenty-four species of amphibians and reptiles including numerous frogs, toads, and snakes have been documented. There is a diverse population of native plants that provide essential nectar and pollen sources for pollinators like bees, butterflies, and moths. The Preserve is a critical habitat to thousands of species of plants that support aquatic species such as fish and macroinvertebrates like stoneflies and water pennies.

Watershed

Climbers Run drains into the Susquehanna River.

Hunting Information

Climbers Run is not open to the general public for hunting. It is unlawful to discharge a rifle or single projectile firearm at this preserve. Violators will be charged as defiant trespassers. PA. C.S. 18 SS 3503(b). See ‘Where to Hunt’ for more details.

Report Hunting Violations: PA Game Commission at 1-888-742-8001 or 610-926-3136

Fishing Information

The pond and stream are designated as “Catch and Release Only, Artificial Lure & Barbless Hook.” Please remember to wear your fishing license as per the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Rules and Regulations.

Acquisition History

The Snyder family donated the farm that is now Climbers Run Nature Preserve to the Boys and Girls Club of Lancaster in the early 1960s, calling the property Camp Snyder. The Boys and Girls Club used Camp Snyder as a youth summer camp until the late 2000s. The Conservancy acquired the property in 2012 with funding from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR) matched by land donated by Andrew Hooker Appel (now designated Appel Nature Preserve); Trout Unlimited funding; and support from several individual donors. With a 7 acre donation from the Schneider family that same year, the preserved area increased to about 83 acres.

The Conservancy renamed the preserve “Climbers Run” to recognize its native brook trout stream. This site is also the location of the Conservancy’s Susquehanna Riverlands Research and Education Center where we work closely with community partners to educate students, youth, families, and life-long learners. The Center continues to undergo renovations to accommodate research and educational opportunities and conduct workshops, environmental events and programming for public benefit as a result of support from private donors, foundations, and grants. Learn more about Climbers Run by reading our Success Story.

For more information about the Susquehanna Riverlands Research & Education Center and the Climbers Run Nature Preserve please contact Lydia Martin, Director of Education & Engagement, lmartin@lancasterconservancy.org, 717-392-7891 Ext. 215.

Address

226 Frogtown Road, Pequea PA 17565

Amenities

Parking lot. Preserve sign.

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 visit cdc.gov/lyme

Spotted Lanternfly Alert!

Lancaster County is a Spotted Lanternfly quarantine area. This highly invasive insect is a serious threat to the health of our forests.

What you can do to help:

  1. Report spotted lanternfly sightings to Penn State Extension or call 1-888-4BADFLY.
  2. Stop the Spread. Look before you leave! Check gear, vehicles, and trailers.
  3. Smash them, bash them, kill them dead.
  4. Scrap and smash egg masses.

Emergency Information

In case of emergency, call 911

Nearest Hospital – 9.8 miles away
Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital

555 N Duke St, Lancaster, PA 17602

Additional Resources
Rawlinsville Fire Company

717-284-3023

PA State Police
717-299-7650

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