Additional Images


Eastern Inner Loop

Mist enshrouds the trees and fields on an early morning walk.

The Arboretum will be a place of beauty, an important cultural feature of the University and the community.


Arboretum Site

Source: Howard Nuernberger
After riding a bus down into Big Hollow, visitors enjoyed a walking tour that included commentary on plants and birds in the area (May 2000).

The plan for The Arboretum at Penn State seeks to capitalize on the diverse qualities of the site by carefully fitting the Arboretum's functions to the natural characteristics of the land, and by establishing positive, long-term connections with surrounding land uses and open space.

The proposed site for the Arboretum comprises approximately 370 acres that extend from the Mitchell Tract on Park Avenue northward and westward to the Mount Nittany Expressway. The site is divided into three general areas: Big Hollow (244 acres) running generally in a north-south direction across the entire site, the Overlook Heights Upland (68 acres) to the west of Big Hollow, and the Mitchell Tract (58 acres) to the east of Big Hollow and adjacent to central campus. Within Big Hollow there are smaller topographic variations, including small hills, steep ravines, and sloping valley walls. The Mitchell Tract is subdivided into two areas: 35 acres with approximately 1,000 feet of frontage on Park Avenue and the East Upland that forms part of the eastern edge of Big Hollow, 115 feet above the valley floor. The Overlook Heights Upland is approximately 105 feet above the valley floor.

This site possesses a broad range of growing conditions and microclimates that make it attractive for Arboretum use. There are several areas of mature woodlands, such as within the East Upland near Sunset Park, that are well-suited for the study of ecology and related disciplines. Most of the acres in the Mitchell Tract and the Overlook Heights Upland are in agricultural use and lend themselves to conversion to a wide range of Arboretum-related uses. Other unique natural features, such as limestone rock outcrops and a variety of soil types and landforms, further enhance educational opportunities within the Arboretum. The proposed site is also the location of the University’s primary well field. The development of an arboretum on the site will help to optimize the University’s long-term plan for well-head protection.


Penn State Home Page Arboretum Home Page Arboretum Home Page