- Johnsons Creek's most noteworthy feature is its natural community called an Appalachian shale barren. Shale barrens are are typically found on a substrate of fragmented shale on slopes which face the south and are undercut by creeks and streams. The stream which undercuts this barren is Johnsons Creek. Because of the thin soil layer, summer temperatures upon the shale can reach as hot at 145 degrees Fahrenheit. A rare plant called shale-barren rockcress thrive in this environment. It is a member of the mustard family and blooms summer through fall. Red cedar, Virginia pine and chestnut oak also cling to the shale barren. This most interesting area is available for research, education and special uses.
Recreation - Douthat State Park is within a short drive. Douthat is known for its spectacular scenery with an elevation between 2,600 and 3,100 feet. It is one of Virginia's most popular parks due to its rich history, a trout-stocked fishing lake, swimming beach, fully equipped rustic cabins, waterfront campsites, popular lake view restaurant, interpretive programs, abundant wildlife and its fabulous 40 miles of wilderness hiking and biking trails that stretch into the neighboring national forest.
Climate - Virginia generally has mild winters and warm humid summers. The mountainous Blue Ridge area has cold winter months with temperatures ranging from 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) and dropping below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celsius). The state's summer temperatures have little variation. The summer mountainous Blue Ridge temperatures range from below 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius) to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius).
West of Covington, Virginia off I-64 take Exit 10. At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left onto Dunlap Creek Road. Travel .5 mile to Midland Trail. Turn right and travel .5 mile to Indian Draft Road. Turn right again and travel .3 mile to Johnsons Creek Road. Turn left and go approximately 1.5 miles to the preserve which is located on the right. A locked gate is at the entrance, therefore, advance visitation arrangements are necessary.