Pleasant Valley Conservancy State Natural Area


Located in the Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin, Pleasant Valley Conservancy sits on a long narrow ridge that runs almost due east/west, with steep hillsides facing both north and south. The site contains a nearly complete range of southern Wisconsin natural community types including oak woodland, oak savanna, dry and wet prairie, sedge meadow, shrub-carr, open marsh, and spring complex. The steep south-facing ridge supports several prairie remnants, which are now thriving after intensive management began in 1995. Plant species include big bluestem, little bluestem, Indian grass, side-oats grama, wood betony, bird’s-foot violet, purple prairie clover, and wood sorrel. The oak savannas, primarily on the ridge top, contain numerous large, open-grown bur and white oaks with many being over 150 years old. The savanna supports numerous grass, sedge, and forb species including a state-endangered plant that re-appeared after restoration and prescribed burning began. Other plants include silky rye, bottlebrush grass, ear-leaved brome, leadplant, large-flowered yellow false foxglove, Canada milk-vetch, Illinois tick-trefoil, alum-root, shooting star, and spiderwort. The cooler north-facing slope is predominantly oak woodland with red oak, basswood, hackberry, butternut, yellowbud hickory, and red maple. The woodland contains a good variety of spring ephemerals such as bloodroot, Jacob’s-ladder, large-flowered bellwort, yellow lady’s-slipper orchid, large white trillium, and dutchman’s breeches. The savanna and oak woodland support a diversity of bird species which include the red-headed woodpecker, a declining bird species of conservation concern. Other birds include blue-gray gnatcatcher, eastern wood pewee, tufted titmouse, eastern bluebird, yellow-throated vireo, scarlet tanager, and black-billed cuckoo. Also present is the spring-fed Pleasant Valley Creek, which flows through the wetland and into East Blue Mounds Creek. Pleasant Valley Conservancy is owned in part by The Prairie Enthusiasts and by Tom and Kathie Brock with management support from the Savanna Oak Foundation, Inc.. It was designated a State Natural Area in 2007. (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)

4554 Pleasant Valley Road, Black Earth, WI 53515
Open daily, year-round
43.109501 -89.806075
  • Parking
  • Scenic Overlook
Hunting with permission of landowner. See The Prairie Enthusiasts website at

Contact the The Prairie Enthusiasts (Empire-Sauk Chapter) at


Local Knowledge:
Rock outcrops along the top of the bluff, and several on the south-facing slope, provide dramatic views of East Branch Blue Mounds Creek valley and the Blue Mounds themselves.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

©2024 All Rights Reserved Gateway to The Driftless