At just over 8,250 feet above sea level, The Betty Ford Alpine garden sits in the high elevation of the Rocky Mountains. The Botanical garden offers visitors the view of beautiful stream and waterfalls, emerging bulb blossoms during the spring, a dazzling array of wildflower colors in the summer, striking gold aspens during the fall, and a tranquil hibernation when the breath of winter lays upon the land.
The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens attracts over 100,000 visitors annually and teaches about the botanical garden’s vegetation specific to the season. The garden seeks to foster the joy and appreciation of gardening as well as providing a peaceful place to decompress from the hectic day-to-day life.
The garden was named after former President Gerald Ford’s first lady Betty Ford. Throughout Ford’s presidency, the small mountain town of Vail was one of their favorite vacation destinations. Betty Ford became known as the “First Lady of the Vail Valley” because of her generosity and efforts to help the town prosper. In 1985, the Vail Alpine Garden Foundation created a beautiful botanical garden in her name for the kindness she showed to the town.
Just like Betty Ford showed her generosity towards Vail in its early days, the garden reciprocates that generosity to each of its visitors by offering free admission from sun up to sun down year round. And yes, the garden is open even on the coldest of winter days, which in fact, offers visitors the chance to experience the tranquility of the gardens hibernation period.
The alpine house located in the gardens is what really makes this garden unique, though. It’s a cold greenhouse regulated by temperature control that houses some of the rarest alpine plants in the world. To get a perspective of just how rare and unique these plants are it’s important to know that just less than 3% of the Earth’s surface is considered alpine (above tree line). It’s likely that you’ve probably never seen plants of this nature before.
Visiting the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is a perfect stop for anyone planning their Breckenridge & Vail Self-guided bike Tour. Stop by the gardens in the evening after a day of thrilling adventure to unwind from your day.
For more information about the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, you can visit their official site.