You’re invited to visit Heaps Peak Arboretum, a unique mountain oasis of natural beauty. The Arboretum is open dawn to dusk 365 days a year.  Our information booth is staffed by a volunteer from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. 

A friendly reminder: no smoking or flower picking. Thank you!

Experience the wonders of our National Forest up close.

Situated in the San Bernardino National Forest at an elevation of almost exactly 6000 feet, the 30-acre Arboretum and its botanical gardens greet visitors with a fascinating diversity of mostly native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and other plants. It’s a one-of-a-kind treasure that invites looking, listening and learning as well as hiking along a nearly mile-long nature trail.

The Arboretum’s Information Booth stands at the site’s entrance as a welcome point for all visitors.

When a volunteer is present, you can ask her or him questions about the Arboretum and surrounding areas. Get information about other places to visit, including hiking trails, picnic grounds, mountain lakes and additional attractions. You also can buy National Forest Adventure Passes here: daily ($5), annual ($30) and second vehicle ($5 with an annual pass). One of these passes or another official recreation pass (such as America the Beautiful) is required to park in our Forest Service lot. Entrance to the Arboretum itself is free.

What else? The booth displays many different free publications presenting a wide range of forest-related information. We also sell wildlife and wildflower posters, books about indigenous trees and wildflowers, souvenir Arboretum patches, ranger backpacks and tote bags, wildflower pins,f “Trails to Hike” guides, detailed National Forest maps and more.

When the Information Booth is open, we’re always happy to greet and speak with our visitors. But when it’s closed, you’re still welcome to visit the Arboretum, which is open every day of the year dawn to dusk.
Our Information Kiosk is just steps away from the Information Booth. A six-sided structure situated at the start of the Sequoia Trail, it offers a fascinating visual display complemented by easy-to-read text. You’ll find a summary of this site’s history, dating from the late 1800s and leading up to the 1982 founding of Rim of the World Interpretive Association, which manages the site. The Arboretum itself opened to the public in 1984. This year, then, we’re celebrating our 35th anniversary!

The kiosk also features colorful depictions of wildflowers and wildlife indigenous to the San Bernardino Mountains. There’s even more, including a schematic of the Sequoia Trail and large map of the overall area from Silverwood Lake to the west and Green Valley Lake to the east. A “You Are Here” graphic highlights the Arboretum’s central location.

Additional display elements on the kiosk serve to amplify your educational and entertaining visit to Heaps Peak Arboretum.

Picnic tables behind the Arboretum’s Information Booth invite dining under a canopy of towering trees. A kiosk display and restrooms are nearby. Don’t forget to use the bear-proof trash bins!

Nearly one mile long, the Sequoia Trail is an easy loop that descends gently and then rises slowly. Depending on your pace, it takes about half an hour to hike. There’s no fee to walk the trail, but you do need a valid recreation pass to park in the Arboretum’s Forest Service lot. Also, please keep a watchful eye on children, stay on the trail, ensure that dogs are on leash, and deposit all trash and pet waste in our receptacles.

The Sequoia Trail is easy for most visitors to walk, including families with young children in strollers and older hikers.  Pick up a trail guide at the Information Booth when it's open or from the dispenser on the kiosk near the trailhead.  Along the way, hikers will find such trees as the Incense Cedar, Sugar Pine, Knobcone Pine, Coulter Pine, Black Oak, Quaking Aspen, White Fir and Dogwood (renowned for its spectacular springtime blooms).  Near trail's end is the largest grove of Giant Sequoias in the San Bernardino Mountains. They're not huge trees like those growing in northern California. Still, this stand of Sequoias, planted here some 90 years ago, is nothing less than majestic.

Additionally, a whole array of wildflowers bloom here between March and October. Please enjoy their fragile beauty and leave them in place.

There are three foot bridges (two over a seasonal creek) and a natural seep (Horseshoe Springs) where varied species of wildlife come to drink year-round. Benches along the trail provide a place to stop, relax and savor the sights and sounds of the forest.

Children especially enjoy exploring the wild animal-footprint trail that winds through the garden immediately east of the information booth. Among the animals represented there are mountain lions, brown bears, mule deer, fox, bobcat, and raccoon. 

Not all of our plants are native to the San Bernardino Mountains, but they are native to California. The gardens contain more than 30 species that are botanically identified with signs that list the genus, common name, botanical family name and common family name. Visitors with smartphones can access QR codes that link to a video about the plant.

Many mountain residents come to the Arboretum to learn about the plants that will do well in their own gardens. You'll find a large variety of flora and naturally occurring wildflowers in the spring and summer such as Penstemon, Buckwheat, Poppy, Sierra Currant, Gooseberry and Coffee Berry. Native herbaceous perennials and introduced native plants also can be found in the gardens.

Other plants growing at the Arboretum's entrance include bushes that attract butterflies during the summer (Buddleia) and wild rose bushes that produce rose hips in the fall.


Activities at the Arboretum include two native plant sales, one in the spring and one in the fall. Some non-native plants may be included if they grow well at elevations of 4000 feet or higher. Check our event calendar for dates and times.


The Arboretum welcomes community groups such as Girl and Boy Scouts to participate in or initiate projects at our site. Other groups and individuals have helped with maintenance. Recently, for Eagle Scout projects one built a bulletin board and another repainted and repaired the bridges and benches. Girl Scouts did several displays. The other displays are of the Fire History and the Geology of the mountains, and they can be found in the Gazebo.