Have you ever been to a place that felt so right and beautiful, but you couldn't put your finger on exactly what made it so special? These destinations have a strong "sense of place" and their memory tends to stick with you. Depending on the season, it may be due to the scent of crabapples bursting forth, the sound of baby birds, a trickling stream, your feet on the wooden footbridge, or the intensity of fall color in the trees and swaths of prairie that flow between them. The experience may also be triggered by the lay of the land. No matter what the season, walking the Native Iowa Trail provides an elevated perspective with long vistas and the feeling of the wind in your face. Or you can follow the Valley Trail along the stream for a more intimate, quiet experience. It is something different for everybody. No matter where you are in the arboretum, or in which season you decide to visit, that "sense of place " is very strong. Please visit and experience it for yourself.
Plan a visit. Come and experience the Brenton Arboretum. Stroll the trails and watch the changing seasons play across the stunning vistas. Catch your breath while the children play at the O’Brien Nature Play area. Spend some time learning to identify trees and decide, if you can, which woody plant is your favorite. Admission is free.
Visitors are welcome every day, 9am until sunset. Find maps and guides inside the main gate at the Visitor Information Kiosk.
Maps View and print maps of walking paths, tree and shrub collections and key features.
Plan an event. The Vista Room is the perfect place to host a corporate meeting, wedding reception or other large, indoor event. Please consider renting the Pavilion for your next family reunion, birthday party or annual business picnic. Find more information about these structures on our website at “Rentals.”
Tours Schedule a private tour for your party or meeting. Walking or seated tours discuss arboretum history and key features. Special interest tours are provided by request.
Visit the library. Relax with a good story or find the information you need at the Brenton Arboretum Library. Our library, located in the Vista Room, is open to the public from 9am to 4pm, unless reserved by a client. Find more information about the Brenton Arboretum Library.
Bring Your Dog to the Brenton Arboretum!
You will find seven different walking trails to enjoy with your pet. All visitors who bring dogs to the arboretum must purchase an annual membership or a $5 day pass. Please keep a leash in hand when walking, and keep the paths and roads free of dog waste.
Smoking, fishing and fires are prohibited.
Please help us keep the Arboretum beautiful and take your trash with you. Thank you.
"We are both native Iowans who moved back to the state this summer after 25 years in Asheville, North Carolina where Bruce served on the North Carolina Arboretum Society Board. We were so pleased to find the beautiful Brenton Arboretum close by! The landscape is obviously very different than the mountains of North Carolina, but the prairies and open spaces have always been near and dear to us!" Jan and Bruce
"Loved the flowering trees and friendly staff." Kathy and John
"It's BEAUTIFUL there and I love it!" Bonnie
"Difficult to say what's prettier; the rose sunset lighting up the tall grass or the trees... This is a beautiful arboretum- love the sunsets." Ellen
"We love this place!" Steven and Jennifer
"Wish I lived closer- a beautiful place!"
"What a wonderful place to visit!"
"Love the arboretum-Keep up the great work!"
"Hi Buz and Sue. We may be away from Iowa, but we are always thankful for your beautiful arboretum and gift to our earth!!!"
"[Crabapple bloom is] really at its peak right now....and so peaceful out there!"
"there is something about this place that brings a sense of creativity out in me and my band mates whenever we go here to jam. much love!!"