Kentucky River Palisades

Dupree Nature Preserve - Open to the Public

Open to the Public


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The Dupree Nature Preserve, the Conservancy’s newest nature preserve in Kentucky, represents a shifting landscape in conservation which recognizes that nature sustains not only wildlife, but human beings as well. This thinking led the Conservancy to seek out a place that will make nature more accessible to humans, who mostly reside in urban areas like Lexington.

The timing couldn’t be better since more and more research reveals detrimental effects on human health and well-being related to a lack of connecting with nature. For example, Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, argues that lack of time outdoors compromises mental and physical health. Louv’s work is supported by a growing amount of data illustrating that cognitive processes such as planning, memorizing, paying attention and problem solving are impaired when outdoor recreation and exercise is limited.

With people in mind, the Conservancy is making the Dupree Nature Preserve a showcase for getting people outside in order to deepen their understanding, appreciation and support for Kentucky’s lands and waters. Through hands-on, place-based environmental outreach and education, the Conservancy will engage rural and urban, young and old, through an infrastructure and activities that do not exist at any nature preserve in Kentucky. Along the way, visitors will learn about the important role nature plays in protecting water quality, cleaning the air and providing recreation opportunities that enhance local communities and economies.

View A Map of the Dupree Nature Preserve!

300 acres

Kentucky River Palisades, 15 miles south of Lexington. On the west end of Polly’s Bend, just west of U.S. 27. The nature preserve is located to other protected areas within the Kentucky River Palisades – the best known natural feature in Kentucky. 

What’s At Stake
The Dupree Nature Preserve boasts three miles of frontage along the Kentucky River and a portion of the best upland forest in the Palisades region, with a cathedral-like setting of chinquapin oak, white ash, beech and other trees. The nature preserve also harbors the unusual and declining Yellowood tree, and habitat commonly used by federally-listed Indiana bats.

Urban sprawl due to proximity near the U.S. 27 corridor and lower land prices than in areas closer to Lexington.

Secured funding to launch the project from the following resources: Tom Dupree, Sr., James Graham Brown, Kentucky River Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, KY, Inc., Ashland Inc., Kentucky American Water, L.G. & E and KU Plant for the Planet, Warren Rosenthal, Garrard County Fiscal Court, Hinkle Family Foundation, Kentucky Natural Lands Trust, Lexmark International, Sterling Ventures, ADEX International, Caldwell Stone, and numerous volunteers and private individuals.

Implement management on-the-ground, including invasive species removal and planting trees in strategic locations. Enhance educational offerings through interpretative materials, signage and educational curriculum for school groups, youth groups and home schooling families visiting the nature preserve. Maintain a safe and engaging infrastructure including a riverside dock, education pavilion and restrooms. Continue to strategize about additional actions to increase visitation, engage youth, recruit volunteers and further promote environmental awareness.

Bluegrass Greensource, U S Fish & Wildlife Service, Lexmark, Ashland Corporation, Sterling Ventures, Garrard County, Palisade Volunteers


Watch A Video - Short Version

Take a quick peek at what is special about Kentucky's Dupree Nature Preserve!

Watch A Video - Long Version

Check out a longer video highlighting Kentucky's Dupree Nature Preserve.

There is ample parking to accommodate large groups wishing to learn about nature and enjoy the nature preserve's five miles of hiking trails.

Participate in our scavenger hunt. Collecting everything qualifies you for a prize!


GPS:  37° 47' 50.3" N, 84° 38' 35.9" W

From Lexington: Reach the Preserve by US 27 -- Nicholasville Road. From US 27, turn west on State Route 1845 (Rogers Road). This is the first road south of the Kentucky River that goes to the west. Travel 1845 about 6 miles until it ends at the Camp Dick fire station. Go right on Polly's Bend Road. The Dupree site is about 2.7 miles on the left.

From Louisville: Take I-64 E/Cincinnati/Lexington. Take the exit onto I-64 E toward Lexington. Take exit 48 for KY-151 S toward US-127 S/Lawrenceburg/Graefenburg. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Lawrenceburg and merge onto KY-151 South. Turn right onto US-127 S/US-127 Bypass S/Old Frankfort Road. Continue to follow US-127 South. Turn left onto US-127 Bypass South. Turn left onto KY-152 E/Burgin Road. Continue to follow KY-152 East. Turn right onto KY-152 E/Kennedy Bridge Road. Turn left onto High Bridge Road. Turn right onto Pollys Bend Road. The Dupree site is about 2.7 miles on the left.


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