Imagine a rock garden filled with rare and unusual plants, but this one is on a massive scale, encompassing 263 acres, and it’s on the side of a mountain. That’s Black’s Bluff Preserve, an area of exceptional botanical diversity that begins along the east bank of the Coosa River, near Rome, and moves upslope over boulders, cliffs and caves to some 880 feet above sea level.
The rich biodiversity of Black’s Bluff was documented by botanists in the 19th century who worked at George Vanderbilt’s extraordinary gardens at Biltmore Estate in North Carolina when they ranged out to learn about the plants of the southeast. What they called the “Cliffs of the Coosa,” and what remains today, is an area of immense rock outcrops and lime-rich soil located on the cool, moist north face of Walker Mountain where uncommon plants thrive.
The Nature Conservancy works to secure and maintain the long-term health and integrity of Black’s Bluff while working with a diverse group of local, state, and private groups including Floyd County, Forestar Inc., and the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance. Volunteers help maintain the two trails through the preserve, each of which is about a quarter-mile long.
Among The Nature Conservancy’s concerns for the area is continued industrial and residential development near the preserve, encroachment of nonnative species, and misuse of the preserve including cave exploring and disturbing sensitive plant areas off the trails. The Conservancy works to monitor and augment plant populations and uses prescribed burns to restore upland forests and reduce populations of invasive species.
Open on a limited basis. Please make arrangements to visit the preserves by calling Elise Cormier at (404) 253-7210 or email email@example.com.
Take I-75 North past Cartersville. Take GA 20 to Rome. At Rome Interchange (US 411/US 27) stay on US 411. Count 3 miles (to flashing yellow light and FINA gas station). Turn right onto Walker Mountain Road. Travel 1.5 miles. Turn right onto Black's Bluff Road. Travel 1.7 miles and park across from quarry.