Rannels Kettle Run Nature Preserve

About This Preserve
  • 92 Acres
  • Trails Map
  • Hunting Map
  • Driving Directions
  • Region: PA Highlands
  • Coordinates: 40.233907, -76.348965 for parking at Game Lands #156, or 40.238851, -76.336638 for parking at Upper Hopewell Forge Wildlife Sanctuary.

Planning Your Hike

Moderate, steep slopes. Access via the Horseshoe Trail to complete the 2 mile loop.

From western trail head is a well-marked trail. Walk north, wade across Kettle Run. Continue north to a trail connecting to Horseshoe Trail to create a loop.

From eastern trail head, walk west from parking area uphill along Horseshoe trail past Conservancy sign at northeast corner of preserve to mountain top. Left on blue-blazed trail downhill to left turn at bottom to follow Kettle Run, then left again uphill back to Horseshoe Trail at Conservancy sign.

Ecology and Management

Rannels Kettle Run is managed for its passive recreation as being of highest and best use.

Nestled into PA Game Lands, the Preserve consist mostly of a dry, steep, south-facing slope draining into rich bottom lands and Kettle Run flowing east-to-west. The hiking trail drops down through shale stone, seeps, then skunk cabbage.

There are oaks, maples, beeches, and birches on the lower, level areas. Forest species are white pine, red maple, red, white, and chestnut oak, hickory, beech, sweet birch, tulip poplar, cherry and some Canadian hemlock, plus a few American chestnuts. Sourwoods, flowering and alternate leafed dogwood, barberry, alder, laurel, sassafras, spicebush, tupelo, maple leaf viburnum, and arrowwood viburnum grow here, too. The late-successional forest contains a mix of significantly large trees, snags, and good regeneration which makes for excellent bird habitat.


Kettle Run traverses the Preserve to join Hammer Creek just south of Upper Hopewell Forge Wildlife Sanctuary before emptying into Speedwell Forge Lake and then flowing across the County through the Cocalico Creek and Conestoga River before emptying into the Susquehanna River just beneath the Safe Harbor Dam.

Hunting Information

Rannels Kettle Run is open to Mixed-Use Hunting. 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)

Acquisition History

This preserve was donated to the Conservancy by the Rannels Family in 1998 and 2003.


Parking. Preserve sign. Trails.

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 – 10.1 miles away
WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital

169 Martin Avenue, Ephrata, PA 17522

Additional Resources

Brickerville Fire & EMS Company

PA State Police