Flat Rock Cedar Glades and Barrens is one of the most ecologically significant natural areas and serves as an important research natural area. Naturalist Todd Crabtree will lead the tour and participants will get to observe numerous species of rare plants, as they hike along the trail. In addition to observing a variety of habitats, participants will see cedar glades, barrens, woods and sinkholes. Grasses and composites will be the focus, but many other plants will be evident – including a mix of fall foliage and flowers.
The 3.5-mile trail is long and not steep, but footwear with good ankle support is recommended. In case of inclement weather, the hike will be canceled. Participants should bring their own lunch and water and are asked to meet at the Flat Rock Cedar Glades and Barrens parking lot on Factory Road. A map of the area can be found at http://www.tn.gov/environment/na/natareas/flatrock/flatrock.pdf.
Flat Rock Cedar Glades and Barrens State Natural Area is located approximately eight miles east of Murfreesboro, in the geographic center of the Central Basin in Rutherford County. Flat Rock supports a mosaic of forest types, oak barrens, open grassland barrens and cedar glades, including federal- and state-listed plant species and glade endemic species. These glades are characterized by exposed limestone that is typically interspersed with cedar-oak-hickory forest that occurs in deeper soils. This limestone, with its many sinkholes, is a karst topography commonly associated with glades.
The Botanical Tour at Flat Rock is part of a series of monthly, guided trips to Tennessee State Natural Areas offered by the department’s Resource Management Division. Tennessee has 80 designated natural areas throughout the state, covering approximately 116,000 acres of ecologically significant lands. More information about Tennessee’s natural areas program, including a complete list of all natural areas, maps and scheduled field trips, can be found at www.tn.gov/environment/na.