Hiking, Wildflower and Wildlife Viewing, Photography View All
Hiking is easy in this preserve. In spring and summer, bring field guides to wildflowers. And your camera. View All
Why You Should Visit
Cedar glades and barrens are among of the rarest habitat types in the Southeastern United States. Distinctive in appearance, these regions in middle Tennessee are characterized by a mosaic of limestone outcroppings, dense cedar thickets, upland forests, and grass-dominated barrens. The glade outcroppings and barrens are home to a wide array of rare and beautiful wildflowers and grasses.
Rutherford County just outside of Murfreesboro
The preserve is open to the public year-round. The best time to visit Flat Rock is from early April through the end of June.
Like all cedar glades, this preserve is characterized by desert-like areas scattered with exposed limestone and dolomite rocks and surrounded by a dense growth of cedars and herbaceous species.
How to Prepare for Your Visit
Check the local weather forecast and dress accordingly. Long pants and sleeves, hiking boots, hat and drinking water are recommended. During warm weather light color and light-weight clothing is suggested. Repellent, binoculars and field guide(s) are also worth bringing.
What to See
Flat Rock is a sanctuary for many plants and animals, including several threatened or endangered species. The preserve contains one of the only existing populations of Pyne’s ground plum (Astragalus bibullatus), a federally endangered plant which was feared extinct until rediscovered at Flat Rock. Other rare plant species such as the state endangered Blazing Star (Liatris cylindracea) and the federally endangered leafy prairie clover (Dalea foliosa) occur at Flat Rock. In addition, the preserve contains many rare species of invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles and birds.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation have been working together to protect Flat Rock since 1994. The preserve is now the largest cedar glade preserve in Tennessee with over 800 acres protected as a State Natural Area. The large size and good condition of the preserve make this site one of the world’s finest remaining examples of these globally imperiled natural communities.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
In addition to land acquisition and prescribed burning, The Nature Conservancy partnered with the State Natural Areas Program for stewardship of this preserve from 1994 through 2006. Along the way, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation acquired portions of Flat Rock. In 2007, TDEC acquired the remainder of the Flat Rock preserve from The Nature Conservancy as a State Natural Area.
There is a hiking trail on the property. Activities can include hiking, views of many unusual plants and flowers, and bird and wildlife watching.
Long pants and sleeves, hiking boots, hat and drinking water are also recommended. During warm weather light color and light-weight clothing is suggested.