The Arboretum at Penn State

Visitor Information

The H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens and all other parts of the Arboretum are open to the public without charge. The Arboretum is not a public park or playground, however, and we ask that you respect the special nature of this University facility as a place for study, research, reflection, and enjoyment. To help us to preserve the Arboretum and make everyone’s visit enjoyable, please abide by our rules and policies. No solicitations or fundraising activities are permitted in the Arboretum.


The Arboretum is open every day from dawn until dusk.
There is no admission charge for visiting the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens or the Arboretum land beyond the gardens.
Wheelchairs and baby carriages or strollers are welcome in the gardens and all of the major walkways are accessible. Other means of transportation, such as Segways, bicycles, scooters, razors, and similar recreational devices are not permitted in the gardens. If you require special accommodations for mobility, please contact Kathleen K. Reeder (kkr1@psu.edu).
The Arboretum offers guided group tours. For more information, please view our tour policy. To schedule a tour, contact Nancy Stoner.
School groups (including home school groups) and child-related organizations (such as daycare, 4-H, and scouting groups) must make reservations (Nancy Stoner – nas26@psu.edu) to visit the gardens. Children must be supervised by an adult. For more information regarding the use of our Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden, please view our Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden Guidelines.
Many areas in the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens are available for private rental. Contact Kate Reeder in advance of your visit if you wish to schedule a gathering or event.
Picnicking and barbeque grills are not permitted in the Arboretum, but you can read about the many public parks in the State College area where picnicking is allowed at http://www.crpr.org/Parks/pavs-lge/picnic_pavilions.html. Stop by the Centre County/Penn State Visitor Center at 800 East Park Avenue (a short distance from the Arboretum) for maps showing the locations of local eateries.
H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens
The Arboretum at Penn State
Corner of Park Avenue and Bigler Road
University Park PA 16802
Arboretum visitors do not have to pay to park in the Arboretum’s parking lot, which holds approximately 55 cars. If you wish to visit the Arboretum between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and the lot is full, you may pay by the hour (for up to four hours at a time) to park in the lot of the nearby Lewis Katz Building by using an automated pay station located on the end of the lot adjacent to the intramural fields. The station accepts only coins or a credit card. After 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and on weekends, there is no charge to park in the Katz lot. Another option on any day is to pay $1/hour to park in the East Parking Deck on Bigler Road.

Visitors must park large vehicles such as motor coaches or school buses at the Porter North parking lot on Porter Road near Beaver Stadium. If you are hosting an event or bringing a group to the Arboretum, you can also consider hiring a shuttle to transport your guests or contact the University’s Parking Office to make arrangements for parking.

Garden Map

The Arboretum is at the corner of Park Avenue and Bigler Road. The entrance to the parking lot of the gardens is on Bigler Road. Visitors arriving by automobile from distant locations should exit the I-99/Route 322/Mount Nittany Expressway at Park Avenue and proceed southwest to Bigler Road.

Those arriving from the south on Routes 26 or 45 should take Route 26 to Whitehall Road/University Drive and thence to Park Avenue and turn left.

Those approaching from the University Park Airport should travel southwest and then southeast on Fox Hill/Fox Hollow Road to Park Avenue and turn right.

Arboretum map

Garden map

There are no public roads through the larger Arboretum, but the woodlands, fields, and Bellefonte Central Rail Trail are accessible by foot or bicycle from several adjacent neighborhoods.

  • From College Heights – Follow the McKee Street/Clinton Avenue bike path from Sunset Park at the end of McKee Street down into Big Hollow and turn right (onto the Bellefonte Central Rail Trail). This trail traverses the Arboretum.
  • From Campus or Fox Hollow Road – Follow Big Hollow Road from its intersection with Services Road on the northwestern edge of campus to the Army Reserve Center along Fox Hollow Road.
  • From Overlook Heights – Follow the path from the termination of East Aaron Drive in the College Heights neighborhood into the fields.
  • From Toftrees – Enter the Arboretum from the Toftrees residential development by following the railroad bed that becomes the Bellefonte Central Rail Trail.

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