The North Carolina Arboretum is a 434-acre public garden located within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest within the Pisgah National Forest just south of Asheville, N.C. Easily accessible via the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway or Interstate 26, the Arboretum is surrounded by the lush, botanically-diverse Southern Appalachian Mountains, allowing visitors to connect personally with nature in ways that are as unique and rich as the land itself. Click here for more information on hours, directions and fees.

The North Carolina Arboretum 101

Why should you visit The North Carolina Arboretum? Here are a few reasons why visitors continue to come back time and time again:

  • 65 acres of cultivated gardens, including the Bonsai Exhibition Garden and the National Native Azalea Collection accredited by the Plant Collections Network.
  • 10+ miles of hiking and biking pet-friendly trails ranging from easy to moderate/difficult.
  • A variety of family-friendly activities, including exhibits, self-guided tours, geocaching and an EcoLab containing live reptiles.
  • Rotating art, science and educational exhibits displayed year-round.
  • On-site bistro and indoor/outdoor dining area offering local, fresh ingredients made to order.
  • A gift shop featuring a vibrant selection of fine paintings, prints, pottery, jewelry, glass, fiber art, and many other craft items created by local and regional artists.

Garden Etiquette

The North Carolina Arboretum is a stunning, tranquil garden located in beautiful western North Carolina. We ask that you please be considerate of the following rules so that visitors, plants and animals alike can continue to enjoy this wonderful area:

  • Dogs are welcome on property (except during Winter Lights and other specified events), but must be kept on a leash at all times. Only service animals are permitted inside buildings and the Bonsai Exhibition Garden. Please be mindful of the gardens and other guests by picking up after your pet.
  • Guests may take photos and videos for personal use. All commercial photography (this excludes professional photography services such as engagement photos, family portraits, etc.) must obtain a special permit issued by the National Forests in North Carolina. To procure a permit click here
  • Garden and landscape plants and organisms are here for everyone to enjoy. Please do not pick flowers, seed, fruit or vegetables. Plant labels are important for education about the collection and should be left in place.
  • Bicycles, roller blades and skateboards are not permitted in the main gardens and Bonsai Exhibition Garden.
  • Smoking and vaping are not permitted in buildings or within 15 feet of buildings and is not permitted within the Bonsai Exhibition Garden. Please dispose of cigarette butts in designated bins.
  • Picnics and outdoor food and drinks are allowed, however; please be sure to dispose of waste and recyclables in the appropriate receptacles.
  • For visitor safety, no wading or swimming in ponds or fountains located in the main gardens.
  • Please do not feed or handle wildlife as this action may be harmful to you and to the animal.
  • It is advisable and a sustainable behavior to stay on maintained and developed forest roads and trails.
  • The Arboretum is a family-friendly environment. Please be considerate of others.
  • No firearms or outside alcohol are allowed on property.

Photography Policy

Personal photography is allowed. Please visit the photography policy page for more details regarding commercial photography and permits. For any other questions regarding your visit to The North Carolina Arboretum, please contact us.


The Arboretum’s Education Center, Baker Exhibit Center and main garden areas are wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are available for visitors to borrow at no charge in the Education Center and the Baker Exhibit Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. If you have a request or question, please contact the Arboretum at 828-665-2492. Click here to view accessibility map of the gardens.

Weather Policy

The Arboretum is open rain or shine. During winter months, the Arboretum may close due to icy or snowy conditions. Please be sure to check for up-to-date news regarding closures on this website or by calling 828-665-2492. There are indoor air conditioned and heated areas for visitors in the Baker Exhibit Center, Education Center and Savory Thyme Café. Refunds or rain checks on parking purchases are not granted for weather related reasons.

Firearms Policy

It is a violation of State criminal law (NCGS 14-269.2) and The N.C. Arboretum Campus policy to possess or carry any Weapon on the Arboretum campus, except under the following circumstances:

  1. Law enforcement personnel, firefighters, emergency service personnel, and military personnel, carrying out their official duties
  2. A person who has a legally valid concealed handgun permit or who is exempt from obtaining such a permit under State law, who has a handgun in a closed compartment or container within the person’s locked Vehicle or in a locked container securely affixed to the person’s Vehicle. A person may unlock the Vehicle to enter or exit the Vehicle, provided the handgun remains in the closed compartment at all times and the Vehicle is immediately following the entrance or exit, as provided in NCGS 14-269.2(k). Any such Vehicle, when locked, must be parked in accordance with applicable Arboretum policies.