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Betty Ford Alpine Gardens picture in Vail
Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

Key Info

Details

  • Parks and Gardens Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.6
Overall
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  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

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It's no secret that Vail was the preferred vacation spot for former President Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty. In fact, Betty Ford became known by locals as the "First Lady of the Vail Valley" because of her efforts to help this mountain community flourish. In honor of her generosity, the Vail Alpine Garden Foundation created this beautiful botanical garden in her name. Visitors to the garden can enjoy stunning views of the Rocky Mountains while strolling through brightly colored flowerbeds, streams and waterfalls. 

Recent visitors raved about the gardens, complimenting their well-maintained plants, stunning mountain views and the Education Center's interactive opportunities for children. Some visitors warned that those prone to altitude sickness may suffer some symptoms here as the gardens are located 8,250 feet above sea level, making it the highest botanical garden in the United States. Drinking plenty of water (which is available to purchase in the on-site gift shop), will help combat the effects.

You'll find the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens nearby the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater at the foot of Vail Mountain. The garden is open from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year. Admission is free, but you might want to bring along some souvenir money for the gift shop. Public and private tours are offered June through August Monday, Thursday and Saturday at 10:30 a.m., beginning at the Education Center. The fee is $5. During the winter, there are also guided snowshoe tours through the gardens' winter Tree Trail. Snowshoes are available for both adults and children; the cost is $5. You can also take a self-guided snowshoe tour during the hours that the Education Center is open: Monday-Saturday10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can learn more about the gardens and see a calendar of events by visiting the official website.

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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
Manor Vail Lodge, A Destination Hotel

Manor Vail Lodge, A Destination Hotel ...

  • 0.2 Miles Away
  • 3.5-star Hotel Class
Tivoli Lodge

Tivoli Lodge ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 3.5-star Hotel Class
The Galatyn Lodge

The Galatyn Lodge ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Vail »

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#1 Hiking Though Vail's ski terrain receives much of the spotlight, the area's many hiking trails are just as impressive. If you've got a car, you may want to ... Read more » Jack Affleck / Getty Images

#2 Vail Ski Resort Boasting 5,289 skiable acres, a vertical drop of 3,450 feet and 31 lifts, the Vail Ski Resort is massive. And Vail's 195 trails cater to a wide ... Read more » Jack Affleck / Vail Ski Resort

#3 Betty Ford Alpine Gardens It's no secret that Vail was the preferred vacation spot for former President Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty. In fact, Betty Ford became known by locals as the ... Read more » Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

#4 Holy Cross Wilderness Area Straddling the Arkansas River about 30 miles south of Vail, the Holy Cross Wilderness Area makes for a great daytrip during the warmer months. Encompassing an impressive 122,797 acres ... Read more » clare_and_ben / Flickr

#5 Beaver Creek Resort Located about 13 miles west of Vail in Avon, Colorado, the Beaver Creek Resort is the newer kid on the block. Still, since it opened in 1980 Beaver Creek has ... Read more » Jack Affleck / Beaver Creek Resort

#6 Eagles Nest Wilderness Area Covering nearly 133,500 acres of the Gore Mountain Range just north of Vail, the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area is not for the faint of heart. This park's 180 miles ... Read more » Patrick_Lienin / Getty Images

#7 Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame Before hitting the slopes, consider taking a quick tour of the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame. This small facility in central Vail pays tribute to the ... Read more » brent flanders / Flickr

#8 Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater Named for former President Gerald Ford, this outdoor performance venue plays host to some of Vail's most popular events, including the Vail Dance Festival and the Bravo! Vail music ... Read more » John Ryan Lockman, ShowLove Media

#9 River Rafting If you're looking for an adrenaline-fueled, warm-weather activity, you may want to heed the advice of recent visitors and book a river rafting and tubing trip. Not only does ... Read more » ranplett / Getty Images

Hiking picture in Vail
Blue Skies over Vail Mountain picture in Vail
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens picture in Vail
Holy Cross Wilderness Area picture in Vail
Skiing Beaver Creek picture in Vail
Eagles Nest Wilderness Area picture in Vail
Colorado Ski Museum picture in Vail
Concert at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater picture in Vail
River Rafting picture in Vail
Hiking picture in Vail
Blue Skies over Vail Mountain picture in Vail
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens picture in Vail
Holy Cross Wilderness Area picture in Vail
Skiing Beaver Creek picture in Vail
Eagles Nest Wilderness Area picture in Vail
Colorado Ski Museum picture in Vail
Concert at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater picture in Vail
River Rafting picture in Vail

Though Vail's ski terrain receives much of the spotlight, the area's many hiking trails are just as impressive.  Jack Affleck / Getty Images

The Vail Ski Resort welcomes about 350 inches of snowfall each year. Jack Affleck / Vail Ski Resort

Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

Straddling the Arkansas River about 30 miles south of Vail, the Holy Cross Wilderness Area makes for a great daytrip during the warmer months. clare_and_ben / Flickr

Beaver Creek boasts 1,815 acres of skiable terrain Jack Affleck / Beaver Creek Resort

Intrepid hikers can explore the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area on 180 miles of trails just north of Vail. Patrick_Lienin / Getty Images

brent flanders / Flickr

This beautiful outdoor performance venue  named in honor of former President Gerald Ford  hosts some of the area's most popular events, including the Vail Dance Festival. John Ryan Lockman, ShowLove Media

If you're looking for an adrenaline-fueled, warm-weather activity, you may want to heed the advice of recent visitors and book a river rafting and tubing trip.  ranplett / Getty Images

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