Get plant and animal checklists at the park office.
One of the best reasons to visit Raven Rock is the exceptional beauty of its wildflowers. A variety of species reveal magnificent blossoms in early spring. Look over patches of Dutchman's breeches, bloodroot, saxifrage and trailing arbutus. Gaze down paths lined with Solomon's seal, bellwort and spring beauty, or let your eyes wander through a haze of greens and yellows as leaves break their winter dormancy and begin to color the forest.
Raven Rock has a diverse topography. Along the river are high bluffs and low floodplains. Some of the largest trees in the park are found in the floodplain where common species include river birch, beech and sycamore. The river bluffs and cool, moist ravines are home to mountain laurel and rhododendron, as well as elm and red maple. The flat, dry uplands are characterized by pine and oak/hickory forests where sourwood, dogwood and blueberry comprise the understory.
The many streams of Raven Rock create an ideal habitat for aquatic invertebrates and fish. Salamanders are particularly at home along the river bluffs. The Piedmont forest is home to many reptiles. Spotted turtles live in small streams and larger turtles, such as the yellowbelly slider and the snapping turtle, are found in the river. Lizards such as the Carolina anole, fence lizard and skink also inhabit the forest. Among the many harmless snakes found in the park are the northern water snake, rat snake and the eastern hognose snake. Though rarely encountered, the venomous copperhead also resides in the park. Exercise caution when on park trails.
The spring migratory season brings many species of birds to the park. At the peak of the season, it is possible to see as many as 20 species of warblers in a single day. Wood ducks nest in hollow trees along the river and many other species such as hawks, owls and woodpeckers are also found.
Mammals in the park include white-tailed deer and eastern cottontails. Weasels, raccoons, mice and shrews inhabit the woodlands while beavers and muskrats are at home along rivers and creeks. Several species of bats may be seen as they hunt for insects.