North Carolina Arboretum

Posted By on April 27, 2022

North Carolina Arboretum

6.73 miles; 560 ft. total ascent; Asheville, NC

I’ve been a member of the Arboretum since I moved down here in early 2020, and I’ve done hikes on some of the trails here, but I never really did a tour of the place, so I decided today it was about time already!

Ilia Underwing Moth Caterpillar (Catocala ilia)

I met this little fellow right away. The adult version of this caterpillar is lovely with that surprisingly vivid underwing, but you can see the look of the caterpillar in the adult, too.

Fire Pink (Silene virginica)

I’ve loved the look of these beauties since the first time I saw them. They are such a firey red—you can really see why they got that name.

Native Azalea Garden

This was really the highlight of the visit—the Native Azalea Collection. And I hit it just right for optimal viewing.

Flame Azalea


Azaleas in bloom

And more azaleas in bloom


I mean, this section was breathtaking. Truly beautiful. And they’re all native to the Southern Appalachians. Stunning. The rest of the tour was actually kind of a let-down compared to this. I walked the Owl Ridge Trail again, which is always nice, and did a quick tour of some of the more established gardens, but nothing compared to the Native Azalea Collection. Maybe next time I’ll actually visit the Visitors’ Center.

You can find out more about the North Carolina Arboretum from their website. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track.


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