Cradle of Forestry

America’s first school of Forestry Historic Site, established by George W. Vanderbilt on Frederick Law Olmsted's advice when he built the Biltmore House.


The beginning of forestry conservation in the United States: Established by George W. Vanderbilt on Frederick Law Olmsted's advice when he built the Biltmore House, the school focused on teaching forestry skills and transforming what is now the Pisgah National Forest after extensive devastating logging practices.

Open daily, 9 AM - 5 PM, from April 12 - November 9

More about The Biltmore Estate

Admission to the Cradle of Forestry is $5 for adults and free for youth under 16. There is no charge for America the Beautiful and Federal Golden Passport holders. Admission includes the Forest Discovery Center with hands-on exhibits, a scavenger hunt, a firefighting helicopter simulator, Adventure Zone, historic cabins and antique equipment on two paved trails. Lunch is available for purchase at Hobnob at the Cradle.

Forest Festival Trail

A 1.3-mile trail that combines history with current forest issues. Explore past forestry and transportation methods and exhibits on how plants grow and decomposition.

  • Dr. Schenck’s forestry experiments
  • Antique portable sawmill
  • Restored 1915 Climax logging locomotive Climb aboard and ring the bell!

Biltmore Campus Trail

A one-mile trail that winds through the Biltmore Forest School campus. See how the first American forestry students and their families lived and learned in the early 1900s.

  • One-room schoolhouse
  • General store
  • Original cabins
  • Blacksmith shop
  • Garden

Forest Discovery Center

Explore with movies, hands-on exhibits, and The Giving Tree Gift Shop.

Changing Climate, Changing Forests

Interprets climate change as it relates to forests and what Southern Research Station scientists are learning.

Fire in the Forest

Traces fire's use as a tool from American Indians to today's land managers.

Virtual Firefighting Helicopter Ride

Experience a new firefighting helicopter "ride". Ride with firefighters aboard a helicopter on their way to a roaring fire in the wilds of Idaho in the Forest Discovery Center Exhibit Hall.

Live Amphibian Habitat

Peer into a live amphibian habitat in the exhibit hall.

Gallery in the Woods Art Exhibit

Painting Western North Carolina by the Mixed Nuts Plein Aire (outdoor painters) artists, will be on display through the end of May.

Landscaping Demonstration

Observe native landscaping demonstrations that sustain the interdependence between pollinators and plants.

Seasonal Demonstrations & Displays

At various times during the season, living history volunteers will demonstrate wood carving, fiber arts, blacksmithing and making candles, corn husk dolls and brooms.

The Giving Tree Gift Shop at the Cradle

Unique creations, forest-related books, maps, gifts, and snacks.

Hobnob at the Cradle

Casual Appalachian gourmet fare. Open for lunch on weekends only in April and 7 days a week beginning May 1. Salads, soup, paninis, Poboys and local Everett Farms hamburgers.

Directions from 1898 Waverly Inn

1898 Waverly Inn is about 40 minutes from the Cradle of Forestry.

Take US-64 West toward Brevard.

In 16.8 miles you will come to a red light intersection. Continue Straight on US-276. (US-64 will make a left turn.) You will enter the Pisgah National Forest. In 11.2 miles you will see the Cradle of Forestry on the right