A visit to Lisha Kill offers a rare example of an old growth forest in a developed area. Some of the trees, namely the Eastern white pine and Eastern hemlock, are estimated to be well over 200 years old. There are flowing streams at this site, which have deep ravines through the underlying bedrock.
Find trees that are more than 200 years old here.
Three marked trails traverse the preserve, with some steep climbs. The Grattan Family Trail starts between the old firehouse and the Grange Hall and makes a loop about 1.5 miles long. There are some steep climbs into and out of stream ravines, and there are frequent wet areas. There is an overlook where the Fly Kill joins the Lisha Kill. Please heed the posted warning and do not get too close!
Branching off of the Grattan Family Trail is Frank’s Trail, marked in yellow. Near the Lisha Kill River, you will find a blue blazed trail called Paul’s Trail about .5 mile in length. Allow at least 1.5 hours to complete all the trails.
Please note that the preserve is closed between late February and early May when use of the trails will result in severe erosion damage.
The red trail passes first through a young forest dominated by birches, aspen, and sumac, but soon enters the mature forest tract which consists of tall hemlocks, oaks and white pine.
Flourishing stands of many kinds of ferns can be found in both the forest and along the streams. One easily recognizable one is the Christmas fern, so called because the small leaflets are shaped like Christmas stocking. Ostrich fern grows along the moist bank of the Lisha Kill.
Other common plants include wild strawberry and sarsaparilla, selfheal, speedwell, fly honeysuckle, white wood aster, spotted touch-me-not, meadow rue, jack-in-the-pulpit and skunk cabbage.