A Guide to Enjoying the Beautiful Grounds of Asheville’s Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens at Asheville is a ten-acre non-profit botanical garden located on UNC’s Asheville campus. There you’ll find the Crayton Trail (a half-mile loop around the Gardens), as well as several grassy meadows and creeks as well as a visitor center and gift shop. We are very lucky to have such a well-maintained and educational free thing to do in Asheville.
The best time to visit the Botanical Gardens at Asheville
We like to visit in the spring and summer when we can admire what’s in bloom, picnic in the meadow and splash in the creek.
The garden is also beautiful in fall (as everything is) when the foliage turns colors. Any time of year, it’s a nice escape from the city where you can be fully immersed in nature without a long drive.
Parking at the Botanical Gardens at Asheville
Parking at the Botanical Gardens at Asheville is available just in front of the Botany Center on W.T. Weaver Boulevard. Though the parking lot can fill up on a nice day, we have never had an issue finding a spot. After parking, make sure to stop in the Botany/Visitor Center to shop in the gift shop, get a trail map or pick up a fun activity passport for kids (ages 4-10.) You can also use the restroom there.
What to see at the Botanical Gardens at Asheville
From there, take your time strolling along the paths, admiring the 600+ species native to the Southern Appalachians. The Wilson Bird Garden is located just by the parking area. The Crayton Trail will take you on the green bridge over Reed Creek to the Sunshine Meadow. This is a great spot to stop for a picnic! You can then hop back on the trail and meander up to the Hayes Cabin and back around again to Reed Creek. It’s a fun and easy walk for the whole family.
The Botanical Gardens at Asheville with Kids
The Botanical Gardens at Asheville is one of our kid’s favorite destinations in Asheville. They love going for a picnic, watching the birds, splashing in the creek and exploring the trails. It is one of our favorite things to do in our list of things to do in Asheville with kids.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Botanical Gardens
Yes! Free admission and free parking. Donations are appreciated 🙂
No! 🙁 Leave your pups at home when visiting the Botanical Gardens.
Yes, but they need to be supervised at all times. The Botanical Gardens is a great place to learn and explore, but it’s not a play area. Check our guide to the best playgrounds in Asheville if you are looking for somewhere for kids to let loose (Weaver Park even has a creek!)
Yes! There are a few open meadows for picnic blankets, as well as scattered picnic tables and a gazebo. Picnicking is allowed, but no grilling or open fires. The Botanical Gardens is one of our favorite places in North Asheville to picnic!
The gardens are open sunrise to sunset year-round. The peak viewing season is mid-April to mid-August.
Yes! The Crayton Trail is a half-mile loop that takes you around the property. It’s a relatively easy walk (one that our 3 year old can navigate without issue.) There are several side trails that cut through the Botanical Gardens, like UNCA’s Perimeter Trail. You’ll often see students cutting through on their way to class or taking a lunch break in the meadows. You can check out the full trail map on the Botanical Gardens’ website.
You can bring a stroller to the Botanical Gardens, but it can be a bit tricky to navigate. If trying to get down to the meadow, go to the right side of the visitor’s center and then you can hop on a trail from there. We have done that a few times without issue but have never attempted to go the left due to stairs, etc. We have seen a few people take a stroller around the trail, so it’s definitely possible. But be warned– it’s gravel!
No, the Botanical Gardens at Asheville are located in North Asheville on UNC Asheville’s campus. The NC Arboretum is a separate attraction that also has amazing gardens. Read more about the NC Arboretum here.
The Botanical Gardens is very relaxing and a great place to study nature, paint or journal. It’s also a wonderful destination for nature photography, strolling and jogging. Personally, we use it as a picnic spot and a way to get close to nature nearby.
Our kids enjoy the open meadow and the creek, as well as hiking on the Crayton Trail. It’s the perfect distance for them and it’s a very relaxing and enjoyable walk for us. Hopefully, this post inspires you to plan a visit there!