Floracliff’s founder, Dr. Mary Wharton, felt that some natural areas should be protected and set aside primarily for education. This was her intention for Floracliff. Due to her wishes, the steep terrain, and sensitive habitats, Floracliff is not open to daily visitation.

The sanctuary is open for regularly scheduled guided hikes and programs or by appointment for small groups. There are also weekday volunteer opportunities for interested individuals and groups.

Please see our calendar of events for upcoming programs.

Private tours can be arranged for small groups of 5 to 20 individuals. We tend to have more openings on weekdays than weekends and ask that arrangements be made at least 2 weeks in advance. Private tours are $15/person and 1.5 – 3 hours depending on the chosen trails. To inquire about a private tour, please email

Floracliff kioskmap 2019sm 2
Click on the map for hi-res version

What to bring on a hike:

  • Please carry a bottle of water with you at all times. Snacks are recommended
  • Footwear: please wear appropriate hiking footwear for steep, uneven terrain and stream crossings. Open-toed shoes are not recommended.
  • Clothing: long pants are recommended to protect against poison ivy and briars close to the trail
  • Optional items: raingear and hiking poles

Other considerations:

  • Pets are not permitted.
  • Please stay on designated paths during the tour.
  • Ticks are active during spring, summer, and mild days during fall and winter.

View our trails

Volunteer Opportunities

We host weekly volunteer days on Wednesday mornings. Volunteer activities may include removing exotic plants from the preserve, trail work, stream sampling, and other activities as needed. Invasive plant management is an important component of our ongoing efforts to protect our native species and we rely on the help of volunteers. Tools will be provided, but volunteers should bring their own work gloves and eye protection.

We also welcome individuals and groups interested in volunteer opportunities outside of our scheduled volunteer days. Please see our Volunteer page for more details.

COVID-19 and Floracliff Volunteering (Updated October 1, 2020): Volunteer opportunities are being phased in following the guidelines in our “COVID-19 Protocols and Safety Plan.” In June, volunteers with at least 50 hours of previous experience returned to Floracliff. We are slowly phasing in volunteers with fewer hours. Training for new volunteers will begin in early 2021. If you are interested in training to become a committed volunteer, please email us at

Please email to sign up for a volunteer day or receive more information.

Research Opportunities

A variety of research projects have been conducted on the preserve. Through these projects, we have learned much about the diversity and natural history of Floracliff and have adjusted our management strategies accordingly. Past and current research projects include:

  • inventories of plants, herps, birds, invertebrates, bryophytes, and lichens
  • camera trap methods
  • dendrochronology
  • acoustic monitoring of bats
  • soil samples
  • seed collection for conservation
  • impacts of land management

Those interested in research projects at Floracliff are welcome to submit proposals. Please email for additional information and permit applications.

Facility Rentals

Floracliff has two unique facilities available for rent for 1-day meetings, retreats, and programs:

Nature Center

Trail’s End Lodge

Floracliff Nature Sanctuary • P.O. Box 21723 • Lexington, KY 40522 • (859) 296-0986 • • copyright © 2020 •