PRESERVE UPDATE: Restoration efforts are underway at Kellys Run Nature Preserve and Pollinator Park to turn 9 acres of the preserve into a pollinator paradise. Learn more about the work being done here.
Planning Your Hike
Difficult to strenuous. Kellys Run Nature Preserve hosts the Kellys Run Trail, a national recreation trail which also serves as a section of the Conestoga Trail. The Kellys Run Trail is 3.8 mile loop that traverses 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. Seven acres will serve as a mixed meadow while an additional 7 acres will serve as row production of native wildflowers as a seed source. The Conservancy is partnering with PPL Electric Utilities to transform the utility corridor that traverses the park into a sustainable, native, supporting habitat. Pollinator Park is a refuge for native bees and pollinators including the rare monarch. Through a collaborative partnership with local farmers Joe Fields and Jonathan Smucker, the Conservancy is also experimenting with the park serving as a refuge for nonnative honeybees for the production of honey as well as a reliable and local source of honeybees for early-season pollination services within proximity to southern Lancaster County farms.
Ecology and Management
Kellys Run is managed for its passive recreation as being of highest and best use.
Hillside seeps and marshy vegetation sustain many amphibians. 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, warblers, woodpeckers, indigo buntings, bluebirds, sparrows, and nuthatches, as well as raptors like hawks and vultures.
A large area around the small tributary has large, straight, mature timber. The major portion of the preserve contains mostly oaks and maples. This preserve offers spectacular blossoms of wild azalea, large leaf rhododendron and our state flower the laurel (Kalmia latifolia) over the spring and summer season. Pawpaw trees are here, with burgundy flowers in spring and custardy fruit in autumn. May apples, wild geranium, Solomon’s seal, Jack-in-the-pulpit, violets, a variety of ferns and seasonal wildflowers are noted at this preserve.
Kellys Run empties directly into the Susquehanna River.
Kellys Run is open to Mixed-Use and Archery-Only Hunting with areas of No-Hunting. It is your responsibility to be aware of the areas with hunting restrictions. Respect property boundaries and safety zones. All Pennsylvania Game Commission Rules and Regulations apply. See ‘Where to Hunt’ for more details.
Report Hunting Violations: PA Game Commission Centralized Dispatch Center at 1-833-PGC-HUNT (1-833-742-4868) or 1-833-PGC-WILD (1-833-742-9453)
The Conservancy acquired the first piece of Kellys Run Nature Preserve in 2000, when Thomas Stuart donated his 55 acre property. This remainder of the land was acquired as part of a nationally recognized landscape protection project known as the PPL Project. Funds for that Project were provided by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, The Conservation Fund, Lancaster County, York County, PPL, Talen Energy, and Brookfield Renewable. The tracts that form the Kellys Run Nature Preserve were donated by PPL, Talen Energy, and Brookfield Renewable.
9 New Village Road, Holtwood PA
Parking. Port-a-john. Pavilion. Preserve sign. Kiosk.