Created in 2016, the Hillside Trail begins on the left side of the road just beyond the main gate of the upper parking lot. It descends along a south-facing slope connecting the entrance to the rest of the garden including the George W. Longenecker Shade Garden and Rhododendron Garden. Avoiding the main access road, this is an alternate route to the lower parking lot area and points beyond. The trail traverses along some of the higher points in the garden and offers tremendous views of areas below. The hillside is covered by large broad-leafed trees, predominantly oaks and hickories. Understory trees include black gum, dogwood, and some mountain laurel. The trail drops nearly 120 feet from the upper parking lot to the Rhododendron Garden.
0.28 mile – white rectangle blaze
This is our steepest trail, but it provides access to the entire Garden during daylight hours when the lower parking lot is closed. Alternatively, you can access the Garden by walking down the entrance road. Watch where the trail meets the one-way parking loop – the continuation is marked with a small pile of stones.