Plan Your Visit

Experience a “Sense of Place”

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? The Arboretum is one of those destinations, with a strong and memorable “sense of place.” Depending on the season, you may experience 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.

Perhaps your experience will be made memorable by the sweeping topography of the land. Trails that trace along breezy hills or those that stay nestled in protected valleys each provide unique and visceral experiences that are ever-changing throughout the season. Each walk is different for each person. 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, 9 am 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.

The Brenton Arboretum is located two miles south of Dallas Center, Iowa.

From Des Moines, the Arboretum is about 10 miles west of the I35/80 and Hickman Road interchange in Clive, Iowa.

Arboretum directional signs are posted along Hwy 6, County Road R-16 and Hwy 44.

Google map directions

Arboretum Map

Dog Policy

You will find miles of 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 per dog. Please keep all dogs on a leash when walking, and keep the paths and roads free of dog waste.

Professional Photographers

Please note that PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS using the Arboretum for paid portrait sessions must have a Photographer Membership.

$125 membership is good for a full 12 months

Trails & Self Guided Tours

“Loved the flowering trees and friendly staff.”

Kathy and John

“It’s BEAUTIFUL there and I love it!” 


“We love this place!” 

Steven and Jennifer

“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

“Wish I lived closer- a beautiful place!”

“What a wonderful place to visit!”

“Love the arboretum-Keep up the great work!”