At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Arboretum to begin reopening

Trails at the 434-acre N.C. Arboretum in Asheville will reopen on Saturday, May 9, as the campus begins Phase 1 resumed operations.

Restrictions will be in place during this phase.

  • The number of cars onsite will be limited in compliance with Gov. Roy Cooper’s order that capacity remains at 50 percent to ensure that proper social distancing measures can be followed. Parking will be available only at the Recreation Parking Lot near the gatehouse and the parking lot near the Production Greenhouse, with campus police directing any overflow parking along Greenhouse Way. The main parking area is under heavy construction and will be inaccessible during this first phase of trail access.
  • Guests are encouraged to use the trail system only. Garden access may be restricted in certain places and accessible only by trails. One-way routes will be employed in designated areas.
  • Groups of 10 or more are discouraged, and guests are asked to stay 6 feet away from others. Face coverings are encouraged while on the property.
  • Both buildings and the Bonsai Exhibition Garden will remain closed. Several portable restrooms will be available for use on the campus. The arboretum will continue to operate under its fall and winter property hours schedule, closing at 7 p.m. with the incoming gate closing an hour beforehand at 6 p.m.
  • Parking fee payments may be made with credit cards only, not cash.
  • All on-site programming remains suspended, but online classes are available for registration on the website at
Go to top