A stroll through the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Vail

Entrance to Betty Ford Alpine Garden, VailThe Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is the world's highest botanical garden, situated at the foot of Vail Mountain in the Colorado Rockies, in gorgeous Vail Valley.  The Garden rests at an altitude of 8,200 feet (2,500 m) and is named in honor of former First Lady Betty, the wife of President Gerald Ford.  The Fords had a home in Vail as the President was an avid skier, and both were very active in the Vail community.  Ford Park consists of this alpine garden, a fairly large amphitheater complex, a children's play area and a large grass field for soccer and such.  As you'd expect, these attractions are very popular in the warm Rocky Mountain summers.   

 

Mountain Perennial Garden, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

While it's currently likely under a blanket of snow, the Alpine Gardens provide brilliant summertime displays of high elevation (alpine and subalpine) mountain flowers.  They were founded in 1985, with subsequent expansion to include an Alpine Garden, Meditation Garden, Mountain Perennial Garden and a Rock Garden (which features a 120 ft waterfall).  To understand the layout of the garden, please refer to a map of the garden found at this link.  The Garden is free to all when it is open from the Memorial to Labor Day holidays.

 

Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

 

The  Ford Alpine Gardens offers numerous summertime educational programs, especially for children but also adults.  There are tours of the garden, mountain hikes, morning bird walks, classes (including painting, drawing, photography, yoga, fly-fishing and gardening lessons) and exhibits.  Cooking demonstrations from Vail's excellent chefs are popular.  The gift shop is a charming old one room schoolhouse and is worth visiting.  

 

Alpine Pond, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

These photos were taken in early September, before the garden had been touched by frost.  My wife and I had a very nice 2 hour visit in the garden.

 

Layout of the Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Mountain Perennial Garden, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Mountain Perennial Garden, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Mountain Perennial Garden, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Mountain Perennial Garden, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Mountain Perennial Garden, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Mountain Perennial Garden, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Stream, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Aspen grove, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Waterfall, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Bench and a view, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Stream, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Hummingbird, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Children's Garden, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Children's Garden, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

Schoolhouse Museum and Gift shop, Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail

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Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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Does winter arrive early in these gardens ?

Is that due to the elevation?

Does it remain cool in the Summer too ?

I'm thinking of the likes of Mexico City where it should be tropical but its elevation keeps it cool all year. 

Lovely photos of the Flora and Gardens.

Was it really that empty ?

Last edited by GarryRF

Thanks for the comments, Garry.  Yes, winter arrives early because of the very high altitude.  Over a mile and a half above sea level.  Summers are very nice -- warm (75-80F) dry pleasant days (no humidity to speak off), and it always cools down nicely at night, so most places don't even have air conditioning.

 

It really was that empty.  No more than 6 folks in the garden including my wife and I, and of course not counting the hundreds of birds flying about.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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