Forest Discovery Center

The 6,500-acre Cradle of Forestry Heritage Site in the Pink Beds valley, NC, was established by Congress in 1968 and contains the first official school for forestry in America – the Biltmore Forest School. Spanning over 100 years of forest conservation history, the Cradle of Forestry offers a snap shot of life at America’s first school of Forestry. The area is complete with a restored 1914 Climax logging locomotive, a helicopter in the Forest Discovery Center Exhibit Hall and events and activities throughout the Cradle of Forestry in America Heritage Site.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Operational Hours for 2020 are April 9-November 8, Wednesday to Monday 10AM-4PM
Fees: $6 regular admission; 50% admission for youth ages 4-12 and federal interagency passholders; FREE admission for Friends of the Cradle members; series of special event prices throughout the season; there are no longer discounted days on Tuesdays. 
Permit Info: $5 for adults 16 and over. Children under 15 and under free. Golden Age Pass and America the Free passes recognized. Special programs $6 for adults 16 and older and $4 for children 15 and under.
Open Season: Mid-April - Early November
Usage: Heavy
Water: Drinking
Restroom: flush
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information


Leaving the Pisgah District Station/Visitor Center parking lot, turn right (north) onto US 276, then proceed 9.5 miles north to the Cradle of Forestry in America heritage site. To access this trail you must enter the Cradle of Forestry site, which is generally open from early April to early November and charges a nominal fee.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

Day Hiking

Visitor Programs

Interpretive Areas

Visitor Centers