Places We Protect

Rattlesnake Ridge Natural Area


A hiker silhouetted against the sunset as he looks out over hills and valleys.
Rattlesnake Ridge Sunset at Rattlesnake Ridge Natural Area. © Michael Baxley

A place for nature, conservation and adventure in Central Arkansas.



Welcome to Rattlesnake Ridge Natural Area! 

The purpose of Rattlesnake Ridge Natural Area, and Arkansas’s natural area system, is to conserve the habitats of rare plant and animal species.

Conservation of this property also protects Lake Maumelle, which is Central Arkansas’s drinking water supply, and maintains the forested floodplain along Nowlin Creek to improve water quality and reduce downstream flood impacts. We use various habitat restoration techniques, including prescribed fire, to increase rare species habitat.

How do we keep water clean?

It is all about keeping sediment (dirt and gravel) on the land and out of the water. To keep water clean, we encourage three practices when living on or near water:

  • reforesting previously cleared floodplains and not building in floodplains
  • installing best management practices on unpaved roads
  • restoring eroding streambanks using natural channel design techniques

How do we improve habitat?

By restoring fire! Prescribed fire helps keep forests healthy in several ways:

  • reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires
  • improving wildlife habitat
  • reducing the spread of forest diseases
  • restoring woodlands to their natural, open conditions across the state.

Fire isn’t our only tool. We also use land management practices like invasive species removal to improve habitat. These practices help ensure we have a beautiful, healthy forest to live near and play and work in.




Dawn to Dusk


SIx miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.


373 Acres

Explore our work in this region

Thank you to our neighbors and other volunteers who are helping care for this place. We hope you visit and encourage you to hike, bike, climb, or just explore—but please leave no trace.

The natural area is open from dawn to dusk. Foot and bike traffic only. Please park only in the designated parking area and be aware of and responsible for your pets. For visitor, hiker, and biker safety, please refrain from hunting.

Made possible by generous support from the Lee Bodenhamer family.


Due to the hydrology and geology of Rattlesnake Ridge Natural Area, seeps can impact the trails throughout the year after significant rain events. In order to maintain the trails, we will occasionally implement wet-weather closures. For more information on our wet-weather policy and to see if the natural area is open or closed before you plan a trip, visit The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas on Facebook.