Colorado’s horticultural showplaces add a splash of color to group itineraries
Before you throw on a sun hat and grab your camera, here are some tips that will help you prepare for your garden visit:
Most, if not all, botanical gardens are outside and feature acres upon acres of beautiful plants to explore. Groups can expect to walk and stand, a lot.
- Wear comfortable shoes that can handle a few miles of walking and can stand to get a little dirty.
- It’s smart to dress in layers, no matter what time of year. Colorado weather can be unpredictable at times, and it’s not uncommon to have a 70-degree day in winter or a crisp 50-degree morning in summer.
Respect the Rules of the Garden
Every garden has some visitor guidelines that everyone should familiarize themselves with before they visit. They will vary from garden to garden, but some rules are universal:
- Treat plants kindly and don’t pick the flowers.
- Stay on the designated trails.
- Don’t feed or touch wild animals that may live in the gardens.
- Throw garbage in trash cans or recycling bins.
A day at the gardens is not just a walk in the park. To get the most out of your visit, there are a few supplies your group travelers should bring along.
- Many gardens are pretty expansive, so bring a full water bottle to stay hydrated. This is especially important in the Colorado thin air.
- Speaking of high altitude, be sure to apply sunscreen and bring some along for reapplication. The sun’s rays are much stronger here.
- If you’re really into flowers and plants, bring along an identification guide or pick one up in the welcome center so you can get the most of your visit.
- And be sure to bring along a camera or your phone to capture every gorgeous moment.
Here’s a quick look at some of the most beautiful gardens in Colorado.
Colorado is known for its natural splendor and abundance of wildflowers. While taking a hike in the mountains is a great way to experience Colorado’s budding beauties, there are other places your tour group can take in nature in all its grandeur. Colorado has award-winning botanical gardens all across the state. No matter what kind of flora you love, each of these horticultural attractions features hundreds of local and exotic species. There’s truly something for everyone.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Located in the resort town of Vail, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is the highest-elevation botanical garden in the world at 8,200 feet. It features a dynamic collection of alpine and mountain plants that draws thousands of visitors every year. Take a stroll on the nature path to see the mountain perennial garden, alpine rock garden and meditation garden. Groups can get a deeper look at the garden with a public or private tour (June-August).
A branch of the Denver Botanic Gardens, Chatfield Farms is a 700-acre plant refuge just south of Denver. It pays homage to traditional cultivated gardens and early agriculture in Colorado. Guests can explore vegetable and herb gardens, orchards, pumpkin patches and corn mazes.
Hudson Gardens & Event Center
Located near historic downtown Littleton, Hudson Gardens is an escape from the hustle of the city. It features miles of walking trails, vibrant gardens, soaring trees, art installations and colorful wetlands. It’s the perfect place for groups to practice their photography skills, do some bird watching or learn some new gardening techniques.
Montrose Botanic Gardens
This inspiring garden is located in the high-desert environment of Montrose. Hundreds of people visit here to learn how to create a stunning, blooming landscape in the dry, harsh Colorado conditions. Tour planners should allow plenty of time to stroll through collections like the rock garden, the cactus and succulent garden, and the valley garden, to see how native and non-native plants can thrive in this ecosystem.
Western Colorado Botanical Gardens
Over in Grand Junction, this 15-acre site not only showcases Colorado flora but also a plethora of exotic plants. There are over 600 tropical plants from around the world located in the greenhouse and around the grounds. Connect with our fluttering friends at the Butterfly House, and keep your eyes peeled for toads, turtles and several native birds in the gardens.
Denver Botanic Gardens
Located on York Street in the Congress Park neighborhood of Denver, these feature a wide collection spread across 24 acres. Some of the most distinctive gardens are dedicated to Western varieties that are unique to high-altitude climates and geography. There are 17 gardens showcasing plants that thrive in Colorado as well as internationally inspired and ornamental gardens honoring flora from all over the world.