Group Tours

Through a variety of tours, groups can experience some of the Arboretum’s 65 acres of gardens and 10 miles of hiking trails in a whole new way! Guided tours require a $5 per person fee (minimum fee of $50) which includes the parking fee for that day. All group programs require at least three week notice, a completed Group Program Reservation form and $50 deposit. The deposit will be applied toward the total invoice for the program. Refunds are given for deposit in the case that The North Carolina Arboretum is closed due to inclement weather. There is a $25 cancellation fee if cancelling more than 30 days out; $50 cancellation fee if cancelling 30 days or less from the event. Group tours are wheelchair accessible. Please dress comfortably for your tour. To reserve your tour, please complete your application and mail it along with your $50 deposit to: Group Tours, The North Carolina Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, N.C. 28806. Checks should be made payable to The North Carolina Arboretum Society. Tour options include:

Guided Garden Tour

Begin your tour at the Baker Exhibit Center. A Garden Guide will lead the group through three acres of exhibit gardens and may include descriptions of garden design, seasonal plants, the Arboretum’s history, art and general gardening information. Gardens on the tour include the Heritage Garden, signature Quilt Garden, Stream Garden, Bonsai Exhibition Garden (general information only) and the Plants of Promise Garden. Large groups will be divided into groups of 12 to 15 persons and tours last 1-1.5 hours. Please allow extra time for lunch at the Savory Thyme Café and the Connections Gallery gift shop. Book a Guided Garden Tour now! 10 person minimum, 60 person maximum, $5 per person.

Guided Trail Tour

A Trail Guide will lead small groups on one of the Arboretum’s many trails, highlighting the plant and animal communities as well as the natural history of the region. Get close to the creek and out in the woods in a safe and beautiful environment! Large groups will be divided into groups of 15. Please plan for a 1.5 to 2 hour walk over a 1 to 2 mile route. Book your Guided Trail Tour today! 10 person minimum, 45 person maximum, $5 per person.

Specialty Tour – Production Greenhouse

Visit the 7,200 square foot production greenhouse and learn how plants are produced for use at the Arboretum. Details on the integrated pest management program and use of beneficial insects will also be discussed. Due to limited space in the greenhouse, tours are not wheelchair friendly and not recommended for individuals that cannot stand for entire hour tour. Tours are scheduled  Tuesday- Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  Reserve your group’s Greenhouse Tour here No minimum, 20 person maximum. $125 per group.

*Please note that the Production Greenhouse will be closed for repairs from mid-May until mid-August. Tours cannot be scheduled during this time frame.

Specialty Tour – Bonsai Exhibition Garden

Learn more about the Arboretum’s renowned bonsai collection by visiting the garden with the bonsai curator. Tours offered Monday – Friday. Tours are one (1) hour.  Reserve a specialty tour of the Bonsai Exhibition Garden hereNo minimum. 40 person maximum. $125 per group

Other specialty tours are available by special request and require a three to four week notice.

Looking for more information on the Arboretum’s private group tours?

Free Weekly Guided Garden Walks

From April 21 – October 27, 2017, The North Carolina Arboretum will lead free guided garden walks every Friday. These handicap accessible tours are lead by trained volunteer guides and will start at 10 a.m. in the Baker Exhibit Center lobby. Garden Guides will lead visitors on an in-depth look at the Arboretum mission focus that celebrates plants, people and culture through landscape exhibits and garden design. Participants will get a behind the scenes view of gardens including: Heritage, Quilt, Stream, Bonsai Exhibition Garden and the Plants of Promise Garden. 

Programs are held rain or shine and participants should dress to be comfortable walking in an outdoor setting. Sun protection, umbrellas and comfortable shoes are strongly encouraged. Walks last 1-1.5 hours, depending upon the interest of the group, and are less than one mile in length. Due to length and content, this program is not recommended for children under 8 years of age.

Tour size is limited to 14 participants; space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Groups of 10 or more are asked to book a guided trail tour. Walks are FREE, however, donations to The North Carolina Arboretum Society are appreciated. Regular parking fees apply. Arboretum Society Members always park free.

Groups of five or more are required to pre-register.

Free Weekly Guided Trail Walks

Each Tuesday and Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., April through October, trained volunteer guides lead small groups of participants along woodland trails and through a variety of forest types. Depending on the season, topics of discussion include wildflowers, plant and tree identification, natural history and the cultural and land use history of The North Carolina Arboretum. Guides may include areas such as the Natural Garden Trail and Bent Creek.

Programs are held rain or shine and participants should dress appropriately for the weather. Individuals should also wear sturdy shoes and bring water. Walks last 1.5- 2.5 hours, depending upon the interest of the group, and are approximately one to two miles in length. Due to length and content, this program is not recommended for children under 8 years of age.

Walks begin in the Baker Exhibit Center Lobby and space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Walks are FREE, however, donations to The North Carolina Arboretum Society are appreciated. Groups of 10 or more are asked to book a guided trail tour. Regular parking fees apply. Arboretum Society Members always park free.

Groups of five or more are required to pre-register. Click here to register.