Cradle of Forestry, NC

Cradle of Forestry in America

Explore the beautiful grounds, top notch exhibits and historic buildings of the first forestry school in America, located deep in Pisgah National Forest on the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. It's just four miles from popular Sliding Rock. Cradle of Forestry was home to the Biltmore Forest School, founded in 1898. It's a fascinating place to explore with many things to do to learn about nature, culture and history of our mountains. And it's only four miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's open spring through fall. It's a photographer's dream!

Open April 6-November 10, 2019

Cradle of Forestry

Learn all about forestry and get a glimpse into life at the forestry school in the early 1900s via wonderfully restored buildings. There are three paved trails for easy hiking. In fact, this is our top pick for accessible trails for wheelchairs, strollers and scooters, making it easy for everyone to explore. Watch their new forestry documentary that aired on UNCTV.

Cradle of Forestry Train

The 1.3-mile Forest Festival Trail explores Dr. Schenck's forestry experiments, a portable sawmill and a logging locomotive that you can climb aboard. Extend the loop with the 1.3-mile Forest Discovery Trail for a total of 2.2 miles. It's on the NC Birding Trail, so a great spot for bird watching

Cradle of Forestry Schenck Office

The one-mile Biltmore Campus Trail passes seven historical buildings, including a schoolhouse, commissary and student quarters.

Cradle of Forestry

Inside the Forest Discovery Center, watch the 26-minute documentary “First in Forestry-Carl Alwin Schenck and The Biltmore Forest School,” explore 15 hands-on exhibits, shop at the Giving Tree gift shop and get a great lunch at the Cafe at the Cradle.

Cradle of Forestry Helicopter

Kids of all ages love to ride the firefighting helicopter simulator over a forest fire, then go underground and see which animals live under the forest floor. The Adventure Zone is a wonderful collection of hands-on activities (indoors and outdoors) designed to help children and adults with autism become active in the outdoors and gain a better understanding of the natural world.

Restaurant
Find the only restaurant in this popular section of Pisgah National Forest! The Café at the Cradle has great sandwiches, soups and salads, open 11 AM-3 PM. Dine indoors or outside on the porch surrounded by the forest. Get picnics to go! If you want to eat, just ask for a free "café pass."

Location, Hours & Admission
The Cradle of Forestry in America Heritage Site is located on the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway (US Highway 276) near Brevard, about 40 miles from Asheville. Next door is the Pink Beds hike and picnic area. Nearby is Looking Glass Rock, Sliding Rock and Looking Glass Falls.

  • From the Blue Ridge Parkway, take U.S. Highway 276 South at Milepost 412 for four miles. From Brevard, take US Highway 276 North about 15 miles.
  • Open seven days during their season, 9 AM-5 PM
  • Admission: $6 adults, $3 youth age 4-12. Special event admission is $10-$16/person. Half price for America the Beautiful passholders.
  • Information desk: 828-877-3130

Looking for guided tours? Check out their Pisgah Field School.

Cradle of Forestry

Opening Day is always the first Saturday in April with Old Time Folkways: Step back to the days of the Biltmore Forest School. Meet homesteaders David and Diane and their Percheron draft horses. Observe the horses plow the Cradle’s heritage garden and even take a turn at it yourself!

For more info, go to their website.

Nearby

Brevard
Picturesque Main Street has many local shops, restaurants, galleries, brewery, museums and favorite O.P. Taylor toy store. Big events include the White Squirrel Festival, 4th of July celebration, Brevard Music Festival and Halloweenfest. This is the Land of the Waterfalls with hiking, biking and famous Sliding Rock.

Many of you have probably seen the above view of Looking Glass Rock (elevation 3,970 ft.) from the Blue Ridge Parkway, south of Mount... read more
If you want to see the best of the North Carolina mountains near Asheville in just one afternoon or morning, this is the drive for you! At roughly 60-miles, this loop drive has many possible stops... read more
While Asheville is a romantic getaway for many, it's also a fun family getaway. Here are some of the favorite things to do for children and kids of all ages in the North Carolina mountains.... read more
The 500,000+ acres of the Pisgah National Forest surrounding Asheville feature some of the most beautiful and rugged mountain scenery, and the best recreational opportunities in eastern North America... read more