Tom Dorman SNP

A 945 acre State Nature Preserve in the palisades region of the Kentucky River in Garrard and Jessamine Counties. A variety of habitats are observable at the different elevation levels of the preserve. Very good wildflower spotting spring through fall, and better river and palisade views in winter.

Safety: Consider bringing drinking water, sunscreen, bug repellent, and sunglasses.

News: The old parking area and entrance will be closing March 1, 2020. A new entrance is now open off of US Hwy 27, and a new trail is in place from there to the current loop. An extra 1.54 miles has been added.

The new parking area is just off US Hwy  27.  From Nicholasville, Jessamine County, go South on Hwy 27.  Cross the bridge over the KY River into Garrard County.  The parking area will be immediately on your right. There is a brown and white sign from the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves that says “Kentucky River Palisades Tom Dorman State Nature Preserve.”

Activities: hiking nodog        Facilities:  None

Facility and Trail Map

This map shows the existing Lower Palisades Trail.  The new Upper Palisades Trail has not yet been added to this map.

Trails

Trail
Uses
Difficulty
Length
▬▬ Upper Palisades hiking nodog EasyEasy 1.54 miles
▬▬ Lower Palisades hiking nodog EasyEasy 2.21 miles

Trail Descriptions

Upper Palisades Trail: A new trail that begins at the new parking lot. (March 2020).  The first hill is a paved path before turning a bit rocky, then to a leaf/dirt trail.  Initially it is fairly wide before narrowing in the woods. It connects to the Lower Palisades trail at two different locations.  View the map at the trail head by the parking area.

Lower Palisades Trail: Includes wooded areas, two usually dry stream beds, and cliffs. Descends down toward river level. There is an optional Knights Ferry Trail by the river.  The Lower Palisades trail has a steep section where you go up well placed rocks stairs. The Lower Palisades Trail connects back to the Upper Palisades Trail to return to the parking area.


Directions

The new parking area is just off US Hwy 27.  From Nicholasville, Jessamine County, go South on Hwy 27.  Cross the bridge over the KY River into Garrard County.  The parking area will be immediately on your right. There is a brown and white sign from the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves that says “Kentucky River Palisades Tom Dorman State Nature Preserve.”

Google Maps Driving Directions

The Google Maps directions will take you to the old Parking Lot.


For More Information

Official Web Site

Trail Brochure