NC Arboretum: One of the Most Beautiful Natural Garden Settings in America

NC Arboretum: One of the Most Beautiful Natural Garden Settings in America

One of my recent house and pet sits took me to North Carolina. I can’t remember the last time I was in this state visiting and not just driving through it. Saturday morning it would be 70 degress and sunny, so an adventure at the NC Arboretum seemed the perfect agenda.

The NC Arboretum is surrounded by the diverse Southern Appalachian Mountains and located across 434 acres. It is nestled in one of the most beautiful natural settings in America.

Start your visit at the Baker Visitor Center. The center includes rotating exhibits and the Connections Gallery gift shop as well as water fountains and restrooms. This is also the best place to start your stroll through the gardens.

Stroll through over three acres of gardens to see native and cultivated plants inspired from the local Southern Appalachian region. As well, make sure you stop into the Education Center to learn about local wildlife and more in the Nature Discovery Room.

Make sure you visit the nationally known bonsai collection in the Bonsai Exhibition Garden. This garden features up to 40 elements on display including Asian bonsai, tropical plans and American species.

Also make sure you take in the Quilt Garden from both the overlook and by walking through the garden. The design of this garden changes every two years and plantings are replaced every spring, summer and fall.

Miles of Walking and Hiking trails at NC Arboretum
Photo by Addington Photographics

Plan an entire day here as there are miles of forested trails and nature areas. Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch on the Broad Green or have lunch at the Bent Creek Bistro, located on-site.

The Arboretum’s main garden area is handicap accessible. Should you have someone in a wheelchair, be sure to ask for a map featuring accessibility routes from the Information Desk.

Note that a lot of people bring their dogs to walk in the Arboretum. They must always be on leash and are only allowed on the trails and in the gardens. Only service animals are allowed inside buildings.

The Arboretum offers weekly guided tours from April through October which are free. As for admission to the Arboretum, you will only pay for parking at the main gate. Note that this line can sometimes be very long, so be patient while waiting as there is only a single lane entrance and one attendant processing fees.

Property hours vary seasonally with incoming gates to the arboretum closing one hour prior. Evening events are also held at this location, so be sure to check the website for details of early closings.

Model Train at NC Arboretum
Photo by Addington Photographics

The buildings and bonsai exhibition garden are open 9am – 5pm daily. The Connections Gallery Gift Shop is open 11am – 4pm with seasonal hours varying slightly. The Bent Creek Bistro is open Tuesday through Sundar from 10am – 4pm but is only open seasonally.

The North Carolina Arboretum
100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way
Asheville, NC

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