Holmes Educational State Forest

Take a tranquil walk in the woods and learn a little about the forest as you go. Just 4.5 miles from the very busy (and often over crowded) DuPont State Recreational Forest is much less known Holmes Educational State Forest. Find a variety of hiking trails, picnic areas, exhibits and even talking trees! In addition to free admission, all of their programs and special tours are free. It's just 10 miles from downtown Hendersonville.

Your first stop should be the Forestry Center with audio-visual exhibits about our natural forest environment. For more in-depth information, stop by the office at the entrance to the forest to talk to a ranger.

Open mid March through mid November, the mountain slopes of the forest are filled with a very diverse collection of trees and wildflowers. The network of trails offers exploration for all fitness levels. The half-mile Talking Tree Trail has seven stops on gentle slopes with a short recorded message about one of the trees – fun for all ages.

The flat, easy half-mile Crab Creek Trail near the parking area features a Forest Service helicopter and the 1929 Spivey Fire Tower. The strenuous Demonstration Trail (2.85-mile loop) climbs the ridge with an overlook at top. The Soil & Water Trail (1/3 of a mile) showcases the importance of wetlands. Check their bulletin board for what wildflowers are in bloom (100+ species). To identify trees, stop at the park office for a tree ID brochure. You can even request a guided tour.

In addition to many picnic tables scattered under the towering trees, a picnic shelter with a massive stone fireplace is great for groups up to 60 people including family reunions and weddings. It’s free to use, but reservations are required (call 828-692-0100). A few tables are accessible via a paved trail. No alcoholic beverages please!

Their group campground is also free to use, but it’s only for youth groups. No other camping is allowed. Pets are allowed on leashes.


  • Open mid March until the Friday before Thanksgiving
  • Closed Mondays
  • Tuesday-Friday 9 AM-5 PM
  • Saturday & Sunday EST 10 AM-6 PM

Street address: 1299 Crab Creek Road, Hendersonville, NC. Located 35 miles from downtown Asheville. Phone: 828-692-0100

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