Keel Mountain Preserve

Why You Should Visit
As you step on the trail at Keel Mountain Preserve, you are immediately immersed in a forest of oak, hickory, smoketree, and cedar. Ruggedly beautiful limestone bluffs are spotted with sinkholes and glade-like openings. The creek beds at this preserve can run high, or run dry very quickly according to the local rainfalls. A small waterfall flowing into a sinkhole has been dubbed by local residents as the "lost sink."

The area is home to the federally endangered Morefield's leather flower, a unique and little known plant; it has been found in only six populations (all located within the Huntsville Mountains).

Near Esslinger Hollow on the southwest slopes of Keel Mountain, near Huntsville in north Alabama

310 acres

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
This site was selected to preserve the federally endangered Morefield's leatherflower.

What the Conservancy is Doing
Future plans for this preserve include maintenance, inventory, monitoring, and trail maintenance.

What to See: Plants
This preserve protects several rare plants, including the endangered Morefield's leatherflower, Cumberland rosinweed and the rare Limerock arrowwood. Morefield's leatherflower is found only in the mountains around Huntsville.

What to See: Animals
Barn owls and Allegheny woodrats and many deer frequent the rocky slopes of Keel Mountain. The recently completed nature trail offers ample opportunities to view many songbirds

The "lost sink" nature trail is now open to visitors! Please be aware that there are multiple landowners on Keel Mountain. Please be courteous to our neighbors and stay within the property boundaries of our preserve.


From Huntsville:

  • Take US Highway 72 east (towards Scottsboro) to the small community of Gurley
  • In Gurley, take a right onto Little Cove Road and travel about 2 miles to McMullen Road
  • Take a left on McMullen Road and follow for about 4-5 miles
  • Stay to the left when the road forks. There is a small parking area and sign for the preserve on the left-hand side of the road, just past the sharp turn in the road.

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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