Planning Your Hike
Easy. In a recent effort to deter off-road vehicles who were illegally causing damage to the road and preserve, Conestoga Township has installed a gate where Green Hill Road turns left at the train tracks. The Conservancy has built a new parking area at this location to safely accommodate more visitors to this popular preserve. While a slightly longer walk is now required to the original trail, the Conservancy has a goal to make the road an extension of the trail with additional plantings and benches overtime. Once you reach the culvert, turn left to proceed up the trail, which is approximately 1.7 miles in length and is renowned for wildflower walks in the springtime. A connector trail joins the Shenks Ferry Trail to the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail.
Ecology and Management
Shenks Ferry is managed for its passive recreation as being of highest and best use.
Shenks Ferry is renowned for its display of wildflowers, especially of spring ephemeral species. Wildflowers such as spring beauties, Virginia waterleaf, woodland phlox, wild geranium and a host of other species throughout the season carpet the forested floor. Over 50 birds including owls, hawks, indigo bunting and the pileated woodpecker, our largest woodpecker are common visitors to the preserve. Two utility Right of Ways bisect the preserve offering meadow and edge habitat for wildlife. Please stay on the trail as to not trample rare species.
Grub Run flows directly into the Susquehanna River.
Shenks Ferry is open to Mixed-Use and Archery-Only Hunting with areas of No-Hunting. Spring Turkey hunting is not permitted at Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve. 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)
This preserve 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 Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve were donated by PPL in 2014 and Talen Energy in 2016.
Green Hill Road, Conestoga, PA (Green Hill Road south of the Preserve is CLOSED)
Parking. Kiosk. Trails.
A port-a-john will be available to visitors during peak wildflower season only.
Learn more about spring ephemeral wildflowers, from biology to identification, in this Nature Hour presented by Keith Williams, Lancaster Conservancy Vice President Of Community Engagement.