Kathy Stiles Freeland Bibb County Glades Preserve

Why You Should Visit
"A Botanical Wonder," our preserve in Bibb County is home to 61 rare plant species. The Little Cahaba River, which flows through the preserve, harbors dozens of rare aquatic creatures. The site also includes Brighthope Furnace, the earliest ironworks built in the State of Alabama. This breathtaking site is truly a "lost world" of species.

Bibb County

480 acres

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The site is currently the most biologically diverse piece of land known in the state of Alabama.

What the Conservancy is Doing
Our strategies for this preserve include the control of visitor use, restoration, prescribed burning, monitoring and inventory. Our protection goals for this site also include:

  • Completion of land acquisition at this site
  • Partnerships with neighbors and landowners
  • Improved opportunities for compatible recreational and educational uses by improving access, parking, signage, trails and other facilities

What to See: Plants
Amazingly, eight of the plant species found on the Glades have never before been known to science, including new species of rosinweed, blazingstar, prairie clover and indian-paintbrush.

It also gives life to the dwarf horse-nettle, which was believed to be extinct since the early 1800's. The small flowering plant was first described scientifically in 1834. Specimens had not been seen in the wild since 1837, until they were spotted in 1993 in Bibb County. It is only known to be found it two areas in the world, both in Alabama: along the Coosa River in Coosa County, and here.

What to See: Animals
The Little Cahaba River, which flows through the preserve, harbors dozens of rare aquatic species, including the round rocksnail and the goldline darter.

This preserve is open to the public during daylight hours. Visitors can park at the entrance gate and walk to the Little Cahaba River. Please be mindful of fragile plants. Planned events allow visitors to participate in stewardship and educational activities throughout the year.


From Birmingham:

  • Take 1-65 south to the Calera/US Highway 31 exit and travel south about 3 miles into Calera
  • In downtown Calera, turn right onto Alabama Highway 25 south towards Centreville
  • Travel about 12-13 miles through Montevallo and Wilton
  • Turn right (north) onto Bibb County Road 65 and travel about 3 miles
  • Cross the Little Cahaba River at Bulldog Bend and continue for about 0.8 miles beyond bridge
  • Turn left (south) onto an unnamed dirt road and travel about 0.2 mile to where the road dead-ends at the preserve parking area. Follow the nature trail to the Little Cahaba River.

From Montgomery:

  • Take 1-65 north to the Calera/University of Montevallo exit
  • Turn left to cross over the Interstate and travel west about 1 mile into Calera
  • In downtown Calera, turn left onto US Highway 31 and then almost immediately (within 0.1 mile) turn right onto Alabama Highway 25 south towards Centreville
  • Follow directions above.

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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