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Lower Howards Creek Nature Preserve

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1225 Athens Boonesboro Rd
Bluegrass Region, KY river
United States

Lower Howard’s Creek Nature Preserve

Lower Howard’s Creek Nature Preserve is home to the John Holder Trail… and that’s where the magic is.

Lower Howard’s Creek flows into the Kentucky River right after it flows past the famous restaurant, Halls on the River.   It is a wonderful stream, and the section of trail that follows it is loaded with wildflowers in the early spring.  The trailhead is just to the right of Halls on the River, with a few parking spots there and more behind Halls.   The preserve covers over 300 acres with most of it limited access (scheduled and guided hikes… and maybe a Photo ShareShop hike upcoming!)

The Trail:

The trail begins at the information kiosk in Hall’s front parking area.   The first 40 – 50 yards are uphill but then the trail evens out and gently slope slowly down to the creek.   The bank on the right of the trail is home to a variety of wildflowers starting in March and blooming throughout the summer months.    We generally do most of our photography in that very first area before the creek crossing.   The section just as you get to the creek is somewhat steep but is covered with concrete “nodules” to hold the trail and provide footing.  There are many wonderful shots of the palisade area and of the stream at this point.

After crossing the creek, the trail meanders through some forested areas with several points of interest.


What you will see:

What you will see depends on luck and the time of the year.  
Dutchman’s Breeches Trilliums (white and red)
Dwarf Lakspur
False Rue Anemone
Shooting Stars
Wood Poppies


Generally when Photo ShareShops has events at Lower Howards Creek, the event culminates with a cold beer and an order of Halls’ Beer Cheese and the famous fried banana peppers at on the deck overlooking the creek at Halls on the River.   This part is of course optional, but highly recommended! 

Take a look at what’s going on now at Halls on the River!


Getting There:

Take Athens Boonesboro Road (that’s what Richmond Road in Lexington becomes past the I-75 interchange if you keep on going. There are a few roads that “Y” in etc, but go straight!  You will see an entrance noted as Lower Howards Creek Preserve  on your left a ways down, but that is not where the trail is and that entrance is closed to the public.  Once you go downhill toward the KY river and see Halls, you’re there!)   


Gotta say it…  as anytime you do outdoors activities, there are the hazards of bug bites and stings, snakes (including venomous) bites, and other normal forest and outdoor hazards.    You may be wading in a creek, and that poses the hazard both to you as a participant and to gear that may fall in the creek.  You should understand the hazards of outdoor photography and taking images along or in a creek.    



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