Looking for a beautiful spot for a leisurely stroll to enjoy nature in the middle of the city? Go to the Botanical Gardens of Asheville, located just two miles from downtown at the University of North Carolina in Asheville. The garden collections focus on plants native to our Southern Appalachian Mountains and include a large variety of trees, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, herbs, grasses, sedges, aquatic plants, ferns, mosses and lichens - approximately 600 species in all.
See much of the ten acres via an easy walking trail that forms a half-mile loop, taking you across bridges over streams, through meadows, and across a woodland ridge to a wildflower cove. Admission is free!
The gardens are refuge to 50+ species that are considered uncommon, rare or endangered on a regional, state or federal level. Such species include Oconee Bells (Shortia galacifolia), Swamp Pink (Helonias bullata), Broad-leaved Coreopsis (Coreopsis latifolia), French Broad Heartleaf (Hexastylis rhombiformis) and Pale Yellow Trillium (Trillium discolor).
Although the peak wildflower season is April to mid-May, something is in flower nearly all year long. In summer, you’ll find berries and the first blooms of the Goldenrods. Fall brings out the many varieties of Asters and Eupatorium, along with the trees that cloak the gardens in a vibrant autumn color display. And it's a great spot for a winter's stroll.
The authentic “dog trot” Hayes Cabin and a spring house demonstrate how our ancestors lived, and a gazebo provides shelter in the midst of the Sunshine Meadow. Along the way, strategically placed picnic benches and tables are wonderful spots to stop for a picnic lunch or to spend some quiet moments listening to the creeks ripple and the birds sing. Please do not bring pets, radios, or sports equipment to preserve the serenity.
The Visitor Center, housing the Garden Path Gift Shop, is open daily from mid-March through mid-December. The gardens itself are open every day of the year from dawn to dusk. There is no fee for admission, although donations are always welcome.
Directions From Downtown Asheville
Take Merrimon Avenue (US 25) north for approximately 1.5 miles to the traffic light at W.T. Weaver Blvd and turn left. Pass entrance to UNCA. Entrance to Gardens is the about .2 mile on the right. Or drive Broadway north to W.T. Weaver Blvd and turn right.
Directions From I-26
Take Exit 25. At bottom of exit ramp turn left. At second traffic light, turn left on to W.T. Weaver Blvd. BGA's parking lot is first driveway on left.
Botanical Gardens at Asheville
151 W.T. Weaver Blvd.
Asheville, NC 28804-3414
Telephone: (828) 252-5190
Another nice walk nearby is Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary.