NCNatural's Pisgah Ranger District
Pisgah National Forest
Cradle of Forestry / Pink Beds Area


Learn To Care for Tomorrows Forests
Cradle of Forestry / Pink Beds Area
(US 276 about 2 miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway)
Map of Pisgah Ranger District

Highlights of this area include:

The Cradle of Forestry In America
Forest Discovery Center

A century of conservation dates back to the building of the Biltmore Estate and the reforestation of abused and over-farmed land. It began in 1889 when George W. Vanderbilt began to buy land in Asheville as a site for his Biltmore House and continues today in the many uses of the beautiful Pisgah National Forest. The Cradle of Forestry is a 6,500 acre National Historic Site within the Pisgah National Forest, set aside by Congress to commemorate the beginning of forestry conservation in the United States.

The Cradle of Forestry celebrates a century of conservation with an array of educational activities for family and friends. You make the selection for your day of discovery--join a guided tour or set the pace for your own adventure.

Inside the Visitor Center is the place to begin your journey through time. A short movie gives insight to the important people who lived here- George Vanderbilt, Gifford Pinchot, and Dr. Carl Schenck-pioneers in forestry conservation. The exhibit room tells the story of the begiining of forestry and gives examples of how forestry conservation has advanced in the past century. Small children enjoy the Forest Fun exhibit with puppets, puzzles, and costumes. Touch-screen video monitors let you select more information on important conservation topics of today.

The Cradle of Forestry transports you to the turn of the 20th century for an experience of life in the Appalachian mountains. Local crafters recreate the skills needed for survival by the mountaineers who used the gifts of nature to carve out their homesteads in the great forest. On the one-mile long Biltmore Campus Trail you can talk with spinners, weavers, quilters, woodsmen and blacksmiths while they work their magic. Call ahead for schedule- (828) 877-3130 or (828) 884-5713. For a preview, you can take the Virtual Biltmore Campus Trail, which we have put together to give you more of the history and sights along the trail.

Vanderbilt's dream was to create a vast estate where forest resources could be conserved for a continual supply of goods. It was a meeting of the Industrial Revolution and the great forest of the southern Appalachians. On the one-mile long Forest Festival Trail, you can hear the clang of the logging locomotive's bell ringing through the trees, feel the clear, cool mountain air flowing down a shady cove and step inside an old sawmill shed to smell the sharp odor of fresh sawn wood.

Also be sure to visit The Official Site of The Cradle of Forestry In America Interpretive Association.

The Cradle of Forestry
1001 Pisgah Highway (US 276)
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
(828) 877-3130 or (828) 884-5713

Pink Beds Area
The picnic area is located in a unique high mountain velley called the Pink Beds. The valley gets it's name from the beautiful rhododendron, mountain laurel and azalea that bloom in the spring and summer. 21 picnic tables, flush toilets, open all year, but the restrooms are closed in the off-season and when the weather requires it to prevent plumbing damage.

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