The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the highest-elevation botanical garden in the world, is tucked conveniently near Vail Village. With a curated collection of plants — from succulents to blooms perfect for pollinators — the gardens are the perfect opportunity to learn more about alpine vegetation and kick off your summer in Vail. And, with accessible paths and parking, this attraction is easy to explore and welcoming to everyone.
Begin your visit at the Education Center, a hub for tours and more information. You’ll learn about high-altitude foliage through self-guided informational displays, including interactive exhibits to keep the kiddos entertained. Check out the temperature-controlled Alpine House next. It mimics a cool mountain environment inside and features over 200 species of bulbs and greenery with origins ranging from South Africa and South America to the European Alps.
Then head outside and follow the winding path to the Aspen Grove, where Colorado’s white-and-blue columbine (the state flower!) grows. Or head to the International Alpine Crevice Garden, housing cornflower-blue wildflowers from mountainous regions around the world. Listen to the trickling waterfall, stretching 100 feet and ending in the Wetland Garden.
Things to Do at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Looking for more ways to have good times at the gardens? Events and activities for all ages will have every member of the fam wanting to get in on the fun.
1. The Children’s Garden
Your tots will discover their green thumbs with the Discovery Cart. These self-guided challenges will keep curiosity flowing. Or get creative in Betty’s Market, a realistic children’s farmers market, where kids can get up close and personal with the growings-on at the gardens and choose from a variety of gifts and treats.
2. Scavenger Hunt
This family-friendly event entails searching for educational hints that’ll take you through the gardens to learn more about the plants growing there. As you search for clues, get excited knowing there’s a prize for each kid who completes it. When the weather gets colder, participate in the winter scavenger hunt to learn how animals survive in extreme temperatures.
3. Chefs in the Gardens
Watch, learn about and taste delightful dishes whipped up by Vail’s celebrated chefs to support the gardens’ plant life and sustainability efforts.
4. Yoga in the Gardens
Don your comfiest workout gear and get ready for ultimate relaxation at this recurring summer yoga event in Vail. You’ll do the mountain pose in the mountains while helping advance the gardens’ horticulture conservation.
Among these activities are native plant tours, volunteer gardening opportunities and much more. Interested in other events? Check out the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens’ event calendar.
There are even more things to do in Vail neighboring the gardens. For an expanded immersion into Colorado’s nature in the heart of Vail Village, wander to the nearby Vail Nature Center. Or check out all the mouthwatering options for lunch or dinner in Vail after your restorative nature excursion.