Asheville Botanical Gardens Trails

Asheville Botanical Gardens

Meet the locals on this urban trail

Just north of downtown, the 10-acre Asheville Botanical Gardens at the University of North Carolina at Asheville is an urban oasis with a shady 5-mile loop trail that highlights 600 species of plants native to the Southern Appalachians.

Reflecting Asheville’s character, this botanical garden isn’t too formal. You’ll often find students here writing in journals, sketching or doing yoga and kids playing the creek or people picnicking. For a quick introduction to the mountain landscape, it can’t be beat.

What To Expect

From the parking lot and Visitors Center, you can start your loop in either direction. To the left, you can either head to the bird watching platform or begin the trail that quickly takes you over two scenic bridges. To continue the loop, turn left at the end of the second bridge.

If you start the loop on the right, you’ll descend slightly and then cross a bridge, after which you can head uphill at the Peyton Rock Outcropping or go left on the relatively flat trail.

If you visit in spring, you’ll see rare trillium and Oconee bells. But each season here is beautiful in its own way. There are a few special features to check out, too.

First, the gardens are home to a “moon tree,” a tree that was grown from a seed that was taken on the Apollo 14 lunar mission in January 1971. The tree was planted at the gardens on Arbor Day, 1976. You can find the moon tree near Weaver Creek on the far end of the Sycamore Meadow on the west end of the garden (there’s a plaque to identify it).

Toward the back of the garden, you’ll find the 1840s Hayes Cabin and springhouse, moved to the property from Madison County. Although it’s not possible to access the inside of the house, it’s fine to go up on the porch and ‘dog trot’ (the central breezeway).

Also, make sure to look for the historical marker that indicates where the Battle of Asheville took place during the last days of the Civil War in 1865.

If you’re looking for a bit more of a walk, exit the gardens and take the Reed Creek Greenway alongside the campus (open to walkers or bikers). It extends for about 1 mile to Weaver Park (a city recreational park) across Merrimon Avenue.

Hike Details

Difficulty: Easy

Distance from Asheville: 1.5 miles

Length: 0.5-mile loop

Region: North Asheville

Duration of Hike: 30 minutes total

Elevation Gain: 30 feet

Pet-Friendly? No

Multiple Use? No

Blazes? No

Facilities & Parking: Paved and gravel parking lot, Visitor Center with gift shop, restroom and water fountain

Natural Features: Native plants, creek & bridges

Directions

From downtown Asheville, take Lexington Avenue north as it turns into Broadway and passes under I-240. Take Broadway for about 1 mile and turn right at the stoplight at W.T. Weaver Boulevard. The Asheville Botanical Gardens will be on left right after you turn onto Weaver Boulevard.

Location

900 Founders Dr.
Asheville, NC 28804
N35.6130, W82.5670