This 664-acre nature preserve and park offer a variety of recreational opportunities: hiking (4.5 miles of trails), an equestrian area that includes an outdoor show area, snowmobile, and cross-country skiing trails, fishing, hunting, picnic shelters, areas, and the Franklin Creek Grist Mill.
UPDATE 5/11/20: Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Grist Mill itself is closed including any pavilions in the park. The park is open for hiking and daytime horseback riding. When visiting, social distancing is required. Contact by phone (at top of this page) to learn about any other restrictions.
Franklin Creek Nature Preserve contains upland and ravine forests, permanent stream, large springs, and bedrock outcroppings of the Oregon Section of the Rock River Hill Country Natural Division. The gorge area is highly scenic and rich in both natural and historic features. The north-facing slope overlooking Franklin Creek is dotted with a mesic forest of sugar maple and basswood. Forest interior birds, such as the pileated woodpecker, use this critical habitat for breeding. The seeps and springs support unusual plant life such as skunk cabbage, wild black currant, and swamp rose. Sheltered cliffs provide habitat for Canada yew, bulblet fern, smooth cliff brake, and downy arrowwood. Outcroppings along Franklin Creek are from the New Richmond Sandstone Formation, the oldest exposed formation in the state. Mill Spring, which once served as a source of water for a mill, is located just northeast of the preserve.
In 1981, local people in Franklin Grove organized the Franklin Grove Park and Preserve Committee. The committee has undertaken the management of the area in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources, including the development of picnic and recreation areas outside the preserve