Places We Protect

Taylor Hollow

Tennessee

Spring wildflowers bloom along the trail at Taylor Hollow.
Taylor Hollow Spring wildflowers bloom along the trail at Taylor Hollow. © Paul Kingsbury/The Nature Conservancy

Taylor Hollow is among the last undisturbed remnants of middle Tennessee’s majestic forest system.

Overview

Description

Taylor Hollow is among the first nature preserves purchased by The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee. Located on the northeastern edge of the Highland Rim, it contains one of the last undisturbed remnants of a historic, and once magnificent, mesophytic (moderately moist) forest system of middle Tennessee. 

An ecological gem of middle Tennessee, Taylor Hollow is shaped by a deeply cut valley and steep slopes that are divided by a tranquil spring-fed stream. This setting features four major habitats that support  The preserve supports more than 380 plant species, aquatic creatures, cave-dwelling animals, and state endangered plants such as the Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia verna) and the Ozark Least Trillium (Trillium pusillum var. ozarkanum), and several state threatened plants such as the Michigan Lily (Lilium michiganese) and the Butternut (Juglans cinerea). 

Access

Limited Access

Open *WITH PERMISSION* from The Nature Conservancy

Highlights

One of the last undisturbed remnants of a historic, and once magnificent, mesophytic (moderately moist) forest system of middle Tennessee Ideal for hiking, wildflower viewing, photography.

Size

163 acres

Explore our work in Tennessee

The front page of an old TNC newsletter.
Tennessee Notes An early edition of TNC's Tennessee Notes reports on the purchase of Taylor Hollow. (Click to enlarge.) © The Nature Conservancy

Background

Taylor Hollow’s neighboring town of Westmoreland, Tennessee was developed as an agricultural center during the move westwards in the early 1800s. Over time, the region grew to include a railroad stop in the early 1900s, followed by a tourist boom fueled by visitors seeking the medicinal values of the nearby sulfur springs. 

The land enclosed by Taylor Hollow was once a pasture field, and an old barn still stands on the site. In 1975, Vanderbilt University botanists first noted Taylor Hollow's unique ecological diversity. Three years later, TNC purchased the priorty, shortly after establishing a presence in the state.

Visit

  • What You'll See

    Insects: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies (Papilio glaucus) take over in early spring thanks to the healthy woods and shrubs protected by the preserve, specifically it's host plant, spicebush (Lendera benzoin).  

    Topography: Taylor Hollow rests on top of a geological break in the Highland Rim. Eroded limestone as well as an abundance of calcium and magnesium makes for rich soils, perfect for a variety of wildflowers and other flora. The topography also hosts an extensive cave system, all below your feet!       

    Wildflowers: Among the many wildflowers observed at Taylor Hollos, Blue-Eyed Mary (Collinsia verna)--more commonly found in northern ecosystems--prefers the preserve's shade and mesic (moist) soils, and grows in abundance to form a bright, blue carpet on the forest floor.

  • Peak Times
    • In March and April, a full suite of spring ephemerals (short-lived plants) make their appearances on a rotating basis.

    • In late September through early October, fall foliage reaches peak colors.

    • In January and February, Taylor Hollow becomes a winter wonderland.

    • The Metamorphosis . . . during April, Taylor Hollow hosts large numbers of Swallowtail butterflies emerging from their chrysalids after a long winter nap.

  • Preserve Guidelines
    • Taylor Hollow is open by permission only. Contact our office for permission and directions. If granted, note that it is important to hike on the marked, moderately difficult 2.5-mile trail.

    • All first-time visitors to Taylor Hollow must attend a group hike. These hikes are posted in January and take place annually in April and are limited

    • Due to the delicate nature of this preserve, the following activities are prohibited: motorized vehicles (ATVs), horses, bicycles, collecting plants and animals, hunting, camping and rock climbing.

Taylor Hollow Wildflowers

Get inspired by Taylor Hollow's colorful spring palette.

Long thin petals emerge from a red wildflower.
Small blue and white flowers blanket a forest floor.
A curled up fern emerges from a forest floor.
Delicate white flowers emerge from bright green foliage.
A yellow flower emerges from green leaves.
A burgundy bloom emerges from a thick green stem.
A butterfly visits purple flowers in bloom.
Periwinkle flowers brighten a leafy forest floor.
Spring wildflowers bloom along a trail at Taylor Hollow.
Trumpet-shaped purple flowers emerge from bright green leaves.
Taylor Hollow Wildflowers Join The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee's Director of Science and Policy and wildflower aficionado, Sally Palmer, on a virtual tour of Taylor Hollow preserve.

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