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Occupying a ridgetop and slope along a minor tributary to the Ohio River, Dinsmore Woods is located within the northern section of the Bluegrass Region. This area of Northern Kentucky is unique in that is the only region of the state to experience Pleistocene glaciations; as the glaciers retreated, outwash of previous glaciers were deposited, giving its moist, deep and fertile soils a higher acidity resulting in a unique natural area.
An early 19th century family homestead lies on KY 18 about six miles west of Burlington in Boone County. Adjacent to the preserved historical landmark is The Nature Conservancy's Dinsmore Woods State Nature Preserve. This relatively mature forest is less than two miles away from the Conservancy's Boone County Cliffs State Nature Preserve.
The trail is open to the public every day from sunrise to sunset. To protect the easily erodible soils of the steep slopes, the Conservancy asks visitors to stay on the marked trail. The homestead is open from the first of April to mid-December.
Dinsmore Woods is a unique area boasting the preservation of both historical and natural resources. Adjacent to the forest is a population of the federally endangered running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum). This clover is found in semi-shaded areas of open woodland and along trails.
In 1985, Mrs. Martha Breasted donated 107 acres of land to The Nature Conservancy. In 1990, the Conservancy and the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KSNPC) dedicated the property. (Dedication provides land with the highest form of legal protection available in Kentucky.) The site is managed jointly by both agencies. The Dinsmore Homestead Foundation protects an adjacent 30 acres surrounding the original farmhouse.
In November 2010, Boone County used proceeds from the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund to purchase the Conservancy’s Boone County Cliffs and Dinsmore Woods preserves to be incorporated into the County’s parks system. These properties were also dedicated to the Kentucky State Nature Preserves system which will assist the county with management decisions. The transactions ensure the properties remain in permanent conservation management while providing the Conservancy with resources needed to further conservation work across the state.
This relatively undisturbed old growth woodland is a mixed hardwood forest. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and white ash (Fraxinus americana) abound, as well as several species of oak (Quercus):
The understory is a diverse mix of wildflowers including dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne), wood poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) and trout lily (Erythronium americanum).
For more information on visiting this and other Nature Conservancy sites in Kentucky, see our Preserve Visitation Guidelines page.