Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum
Take a journey through Atlanta’s living past, present, and future.
Arboretum (n): A botanical garden focused on trees, which are grown for research, education and display.
Trees Atlanta currently manages 82 linear acres of greenspace along 7 miles known as the Eastside Trail, Eastside Trail Extension, and the Westside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine. This acreage is composed of roughly 45 acres of planted space and the remaining 37 acreage is natural areas undergoing restoration management. This managed greenspace on the Atlanta BeltLine is actively referred to and known as the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum. As the trail is developed, the Arboretum will expand with new trees to be planted and subsequently accessioned into the Arboretum’s collections.
The Atlanta Beltline Arboretum currently has over 4,000 accessioned plants in its collection, with 351 unique tree and woody shrub species and cultivars, and 90 genera represented that are identified with permanent signage. Additionally, over 500,000 non-accessioned live plants have been planted within the Arboretum since 2013, primarily native grasses and wildflowers and 1,590 pounds of native seed distributed.
The Atlanta BeltLine is one of the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs in the United States. It is a sustainable redevelopment project that connects a network of public parks, multi-use trails, and light-rail transit along a main paved trail artery that reuses a historic 22-mile railroad corridor. The system circles downtown Atlanta and connects 45 neighborhoods directly to each other, which successfully incentives pedestrian movement over vehicular as Atlantans live, work, and play. With 1.8 million trail users in 2019, the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum provides an unprecedented opportunity to educate the public about ecological restoration, utilizing native plants, and how urban ecology can reconnect fragmented communities. The Arboretum serves as a component of Atlanta’s urban forest, acts as an ecological corridor, a place for education, citizen science, and scientific research, and a learning landscape.
In 2007, before any concrete went down, the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum concept was developed by Trees Atlanta in partnership with Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. The Arboretum enhances the trail corridor and serves as a free public garden open to all showcasing sustainable landscape management and demonstrating ecosystem restoration in an urban setting. Trees Atlanta envisions the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum as an equitable greenspace for all 45 Atlanta BeltLine neighborhoods, as a free public garden cherished and stewarded by Atlantans, as a learning landscape inspiring ecological change at home, and as a restored natural habitat providing invaluable environmental and social services.
- Create a distinctive sense of place with native and regionally-adapted plants of the bio-regions of Georgia, with special emphasis on the Piedmont.
- Activate the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum as a corridor for education and scientific research by Trees Atlanta and its partners.
- Demonstrate botanically diverse collections and sustainable landscape management practices.
- Restore the soil and environment of the former urban railway corridor.
- Enhance neighborhoods, as well as community parks and greenspaces, by improving access, quality of life, and the City of Atlanta.
- Build a healthy urban ecosystem and connect wildlife corridors.
Explore the Atlanta Beltline Arboretum
Take a look at our interactive map to explore various parts of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum virtually!Start Exploring
Help us keep track of a changing landscape! The entire Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum is a dynamic landscape actively being restored to forest and native grassland. Check out the community science observation stations below to see these landscapes grow and change through the years. By contributing to the process you are helping us to document changes and helping inform us of which methods work best. You can actively help us to monitor an ecological restoration!
BeltLine Arboretum Workshops
Arboretum Workshops are classes offered twice a month by Trees Atlanta’s BeltLine Arboretum staff. Rotating workshop topics include Basic Botany for native trees, Toss Your Turf; Make a Meadow, Native plants and pollinators, and Building an Herbarium. Workshops offer classroom learning opportunities and hands-on experiences on the BeltLine Arboretum. Arboretum workshops are up to three hours long. They are offered at no cost, and sign-up is open to people of all ages.
Twilight on the Arboretum
Join us for our monthly Twilight on the Arboretum to build your horticultural knowledge! Each month we meet under the evening sky to spend 45 minutes learning about one of our Arboretum spaces, the Stumpery Garden, the Longleaf Pine Savanna, Persimmon Woods, the Trial Garden, Angel Park, 33 Oak Hill, Monroe Meadow, or Beech Circle. We will also spend about 1 hour performing various horticultural tasks such as planting perennials, spreading seed, weeding beds, mulching trees, taking plant cuttings, or dividing perennials. Sometimes volunteers will get to go home with seedlings, plant cuttings, or transplants but are guaranteed to leave with more horticultural knowledge. Afterward, volunteers are invited to meet at a nearby restaurant for networking and socializing.
*Currently paused due to COVID-19 precautions.* Walking Tours take approximately 90 minutes and begin from an easily-accessible trailhead in the Inman Park neighborhood on Fridays and Saturdays. Each tour guide (docent) prepares their own unique talking points on native trees, architectural interests, key historical stories, and much more. This tour is offered year-round so you can experience every season of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum.
Weekly tours and special interest tours are led by certain volunteers called docents who complete extensive training on Trees Atlanta, history of the Atlanta BeltLine and surrounding neighborhoods, along with horticultural information on the trees, plants, and grasses of the Arboretum. To learn more about becoming a docent or registering for the next docent training course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to Kaiser Permanente for helping to make the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum docent program possible.