Cradle of Forestry

Cradle of Forestry, Pisgah Forest: Hours, Address, Cradle of Forestry Reviews: 4.5/5

Cradle of Forestry
4.5
Historic Sites • Nature & Wildlife Areas
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9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
*Temporarily Closed for Winter Hours, reopening April 7th, 2018* Continuing a legacy of forest conservation history, the Cradle of Forestry offers a snap shot of life at America's first school of Forestry along the Biltmore Campus Trail. You can also take a picturesque walk along the Forest Festival Trail complete with a restored 1914 logging locomotive, or take a simulated 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. Come explore the sights and sounds, check out the events and activities, and plan your adventure at the birthplace of Forest Conservation in America - the Cradle of Forestry in America. We are CLOSED November-March.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
263 reviews
Excellent
195
Very good
55
Average
10
Poor
2
Terrible
1

Mixa's Travels
Oldsmar, FL2,867 contributions
Wow! We are thrilled we went to the Cradle of Forestry. VERY IMPRESSED - Learning and seeing how "forestry" started in the US was interesting. While we have visited the Biltmore many times and knew that the Pisgah Forest used to be part of the Biltmore Estate, we didn't know the history. Learning how Vanderbilt purchased 1000's of acres of land that had been logged, then he hired Dr. Schenck, from Germany, to restore the forest with the idea of logging it for income. This was the first time in the United States anyone had attempted to create a forest from logged land (depleted of trees and overtaken by shrubs). In any case the Biltmore School of Forestry started to train others in "reforestation." After it started colleges began offering forestry, thus the site of the first school in Pisgah National Forest is the "Cradle of Forestry." A variety of things to do and see. A very good museum in the main building and three different trails to walk with sign boards, equipment and buildings that provide an education on forestry from its very beginning. We walked the Forest Festival Trail stopping at the numerous storyboards and see the various equipment used in logging and forestry. Then we took a guided tour of the Biltmore Campus Trail. Actually, we were on the very first guided tour for the Biltmore Campus Trail - as they were just starting to see how guided tours would be received. It was Terrific! Very Educational and the guide had extra knowledge about each building along the trail. We thoroughly enjoyed the Cradle of Forestry and could have spent more time there. There is a 3rd trail - Forest Discovery Trail but didn't have time for it. Be sure to stop and take time to learn how forestry began in the United States. Kids will enjoy the various equipment and machines along the Forest Festival Trail and in the Museum.
Note: There is a fee but it is reduced if you are a National Park Membership card.
Written October 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Adriene A
Opelika, AL92 contributions
We will disregard the parking gate not being open. Once that was figured out, things were great! We did the blue ghost firefly tour (won the lottery, then COVID hit, so it came this year) and all ages (4-65) were entertained. We saw many glowing things: a railroad worm, blue ghosts and synchronous fireflies, as well as a specialized larvae that glows down by the stream, so we were very impressed. My 4 year old niece enjoyed and even remembered parts of the "Jack" story about the fireflies that was made up and read as part of the presentation before we went out. She also enjoyed crawling around in the little tunnel at the interpretive center and sitting in the helicopter with her mother and grandmother. The tour guide was hilarious. The hike is paved.
Written June 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Steven R
48 contributions
Stopped on our way to sliding rock. I wish we had allocated more time. We couldn't see every thing given the time we had allotted. The day we visited, there were some demonstrators showing how to hand carve various animals The grandkids (as did I) found this to be interesting.
Written August 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Scarlett O’Tara
50 contributions
Solo
This was really an enjoyable part of my day!! I stumbled upon this while driving through Pisgah national Forest and I ended up staying for close to three hours. There are three hiking trails and I ended up taking two of them and not only enjoy the hike but learning about the history of forestry. The trails are paved and there are some areas that are a little slippery due to moss overgrowth, but it was a very easy walk and I ended up doing over 2 miles on two trails. This is a great place to take kids or anyone who is a history buff. The women working at the main center were very helpful and they give you some information before you go out on your self guided tours. I would definitely bring my family here on vacation.
Written September 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

adventurer1234
Forest Park, OH515 contributions
With a visit to the Cradle of Forestry in America, you learn how forest preservation began and continues. This is done with a series of exhibits and supported with a very interesting short film. Then you can take one or several walks that takes you back in time to see how forest preservation was presented 80 - 100 years ago by going through or seeing various buildings (class rooms, offices, barracks, and others) used at the time. Definitely worth a visit!
Written September 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Traci
Fort Mill, SC279 contributions
Family
If you’re staying near by this his a great place to stop especially if it’s raining. Rangers are very helpful, they’re a a nice hiking path suitable for all ages. It has a gift shop and restrooms. It set up like a museum.
Written August 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Joselyn C
Atlanta, GA5 contributions
Wonderful 1 mile or 2 mile paved hike. Historic buildings related to beginning of forestry education in the US. Can bring your dog. Lovely streams, bridges and plants/bushes along the pathway. Kid, dog and adult friendly! Will go back
Written October 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kay W
1 contribution
I got to enjoy a couple relaxing hours with Kelly Bruce leading a Zoom video group through some forest therapy. Because of our remote locations, we can watch her visuals from the NC forest, and/or walk around and experience our own areas. We had people from several US states on the session.

Kelly's leadership was calm and relaxing, and she made sure we were all included as much as we wanted to be in sharing our observations periodically throughout the session.

I finished feeling very at peace, and just wanting to go walking around my neighborhood to see what more I could experience.

Thanks, Kelly!
Written June 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

easygoin303
North Carolina30 contributions
Friends
Went to the “Blue Ghost” Firefly event. It was good. Several people on the tour loudly complained about others’ flashlights being too bright and to please shut them off, but it was really dark (it’s outside at night). I think the cradle of forestry should purchase acceptable flashlights and include them in the price o admission, even if they only last a few hours (they could also be marketing tools) Also some sort of rope railing along the hike would also be helpful so you would have a way to know you were staying on the trail. It was fun, but I would not go again.
Written May 31, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

robert w
Pisgah Forest, NC30 contributions
Solo
I did the Blue Ghost tour on 5/21/19 (second time this season). I have never used the term before on a review but the walk was, at times, truly magical. I was transported to an inky black world with small glowing blue dots slowly circling and moving up, down, back and forth. The trail is about a mile long and, last night, the fireflies were quite active although not along the entire length. Still, there were tons of spots to observe the beetles in all their glory.

One extra last night was that there was a group of blue ghost larvae grouped together on the banks of a creek. One of the staff told us about it just as we were going over a bridge. When you looked down, you could see the faint glow of a line made of hundreds of glowing larvae. What a treat!

I've gone twice this season and here's my suggestions.

Tennis shoes with good ankle support are all most of need. Hiking boots and poles aren't needed unless you have some questions about yourself or if you simply feel more comfortable. The path is level and dry.

The fireflies are more active with hotter weather. I went first when it was below 60 degrees. We saw enough to whet our appetite but we saw many, many more last night when it was 68. If you can hit it when it's in the 70's, that would be best. So, try to schedule your walk for a bit later in the schedule to have the best chance. Keep in mind that the Cradle's temperature is about 5-7 degrees cooler than in town due to higher elevation and the forest coolness. If you can get a day where it's in the low 80's during the day, you'll have the best luck.

Take only a small flashlight. You need very little light on the trail when you need it at all. Try hard to walk without one. If you take small, shuffle steps you'll likely have no issue with going off the trail even without a light. I walk alone and just do a quick flash every so often if I think I'm going the wrong way.

Remember that many of the blue ghosts can best be spotted by simply peering into the forest just to the right and left of the trail. Sometimes, you have to wait a few seconds for them to light up but then many of them will start firing off.

The most magical time was when I was on a part of the trail where the forest was all around me, almost pitch black. The blue ghosts were swirling slowly all around me. Because of a lack of reference, my body started swaying, almost as if you were on a boat at sea. The little guys gave me a dance for a good 1-2 minutes and then quietly faded off. Be patient and observant and you might just get your own special time.
Written May 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Cradle of Forestry is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM