The Heaps Peak Arboretum is truly a unique and special place to visit. Located at 6,000' above sea level on forty acres in the San Bernardino Mountains, and nestled in a natural forest setting, it is unlike any other botanical garden you have ever visited. This is largely due to its high elevation and the fact that it is situated on public lands in the San Bernardino National Forest.
There is something for everyone at Heaps Peak Arboretum. Whether you are a serious student of botany or just want to take a nature walk and listen to the wild birds sing, the Arboretum is a perfect setting for a relaxing visit. We have an information booth that is staffed on weekends, weather permitting, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and our friendly volunteers are very familiar with what our mountains have to offer. So whether you are needing directions to a campground, local town, hiking trail, ranger station, or just want to learn a little about the plants and animals in the forest, we are there to help.
Children of all ages will find our site a fun place to come and learn about nature. Our demonstration gardens have an unusual feature for kids and adults alike, and offers quite an interesting experience. Our cement pathways that wind through the gardens have permanent authentic animal tracks placed in them with graphic signs identifying each animal. Bobcats, black bear, mountain lion, quail, rattle snake, mule deer, and raccoon tracks are all there for youngsters and their parents to enjoy.
The Heaps Peak Arboretum is never closed. There are no gates or locks and people can come and visit year-round even when snow is on the ground. Snow is never a guarantee in our mountains due to the dry Southern California climate, but the best bet for seeing snow is in February or March. There are many places for “snow play” in our mountains but it is discouraged at the Arboretum due to our delicate plant species.
We offer many educational opportunities and docent led group tours are available upon request with adequate advance notice by using the Contact link above.. The Heaps Peak Arboretum Kiosk is a great place to learn about plants, animals, fire ecology, bark beetle entomology, and, a photo history of the origins of our site is on display. The Kiosk is located next to the trailhead. Parking is never a problem and Forest Service Adventure Passes are sold on weekends when the booth is open.
The Arboretum is managed and operated completely by volunteers. We are an organization dedicated to the education of all people who have an interest in the natural world. We are conveniently located on Highway 18, which is the only main highway that runs across the rim of the San Bernardino Mountains and connects the Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead communities.
On behalf of our board of directors and members I would like to extend an invitation to you to come and experience the natural beauty that is the Heaps Peak Arboretum.
Vice-President Rim of the World Interpretive Association