Stepping into the lush expanses of the North Carolina Arboretum, known to locals and tourists alike as the Asheville Arboretum, is like walking into a living encyclopedia of plants, trails, and educational exhibits.

Often seen as a portal to explore the region’s natural beauty, the arboretum leaves no stone unturned to offer an immersive experience.

However, many are curious about the cost of this experience and ask: “Is Asheville Arboretum Free?” This comprehensive article seeks to answer that question in detail.

Quick Answer

  1. Admission to the Asheville Arboretum: It’s technically free, but a parking fee applies.
  2. Parking Fee: $16 per personal vehicle.
  3. Additional Charges: Certain activities and special events may have extra fees.
  4. Membership Perks: Members enjoy benefits such as free parking.

Now, let’s delve deeper into these points for a better understanding of the cost factors at the Asheville Arboretum.

The Asheville Arboretum: A Free Entry Wonderland

Located in the scenic southern Appalachian Mountains on the outskirts of Asheville, the North Carolina Arboretum spans 434 acres of green splendor.

Astonishingly, this verdant expanse does not charge any admission fee. You heard it right! You can traverse the 65 acres of beautifully curated gardens, walk through the unique exhibits set in the idyllic outdoors and indoors, and trail across the 10 miles of hiking and biking paths without spending a penny on entry fees.

The Parking Fee: An Essential Aspect

While the lack of an admission fee might bring a smile to your face, the Asheville Arboretum does charge a parking fee.

Every personal motor vehicle entering the premises is required to pay a fee of $16. Why the charge, you ask?

The revenue generated from this parking fee plays a pivotal role in maintaining the arboretum’s grounds, trails, and exhibits. Moreover, it also funds the arboretum’s ongoing research endeavors and vital educational programs, contributing significantly to the sustainability of this green sanctuary.

Special Events & Activities: Additional Costs

The Asheville Arboretum isn’t just about stationary exhibits and landscapes; it’s a hub of dynamic activities and special events, which breathe life into the place.

Throughout the year, the arboretum hosts a range of events, workshops, and educational programs that visitors can participate in for a more enriching experience. While most of these are accessible without additional charges, some do require extra fees.

For instance, the Winter Lights show, an annual holiday extravaganza showcasing a brilliant display of twinkling lights, is a separate ticketed event not covered under the parking fee.

Membership & Its Benefits: Free Parking & More

If you’re a frequent visitor to the Asheville Arboretum or planning to be one, it’s worth considering a membership with The North Carolina Arboretum Society. One of the perks society members enjoy is free parking.

The membership not only supports the arboretum’s vital work but also rewards you with several benefits. Depending on the level of membership, these can include discounts on educational classes, purchases from the gift shop, and reciprocal admissions benefits at over 300 gardens across North America.

The Inherent Value: More Than Just A Parking Fee

With its vast collection of gardens and trails, the Asheville Arboretum offers remarkable value for the price of its parking fee.

You could spend an entire day losing yourself in the mesmerizing landscapes, uncovering fascinating insights about the local flora and fauna, and soaking up the tranquility that surrounds the place.

In essence, each visit not only promises a fulfilling experience but also supports the arboretum’s environmental education and research contributions, making it a worthy investment in a sustainable future.


To answer the initial question, the Asheville Arboretum does not charge an admission fee, but there is a parking fee for personal motor vehicles.

The proceeds from this fee go towards the upkeep of the arboretum, enhancing its mission to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of plants.

Whether you’re an Asheville local, a botanical enthusiast, or a tourist seeking a tranquil retreat, a visit to the Asheville Arboretum offers an enriching and educational experience that is more than worth the price of parking.


  1. The North Carolina Arboretum. Plan Your Visit.
  2. The North Carolina Arboretum Society. Membership.
  3. Asheville Chamber of Commerce. Asheville Arboretum: A Must-Visit.
  4. Asheville’s Fun Depot. Asheville Attractions: The NC Arboretum.