Visiting the Natural Areas

Natural areas open to the public

  • Holden Meadows – These areas are managed to maintain and present important horticultural collections, scenic vistas and biologically diverse meadows.

  • Bole Woods – A National Natural Landmark with a mature beech-maple forest remnant that is a unique discovery opportunity and visitor destination where horticultural collections and natural areas meet.

  • Strong Acres – An attractive destination for exploration and discovery of meadow and forest diversity, and a site for future grassland restoration.

  • Fisherman’s Ponds – A serene and secluded landscape providing opportunities to study wetland habitats and the convergence of land and water at the headwaters of Pierson Creek.

  • Pierson Creek Valley –  A woodland with a creek in the heart of Holden, offering opportunities for leisurely or challenging hikes, natural playgrounds, deep scenery, and quiet birding.

  • Working Woods – Holden’s former Sugarbush is a beech-maple forest remnant that was managed for maple syrup production for more than 30 years. Maple syrup production at Holden was stopped in 2006 to help conserve the forest. The area is now being transformed into Holden's new Working Woods. Once complete, the 30-acre site will include demonstration plots to allow landowners with wooded parcels to see how their property can be managed to attract wildlife, host an increased diversity of trees, grow woodland crops or include recreational walking trails. 

Natural areas open on a limited basis on guided hikes

  • Carver’s Pond – This wetland complex is an extraordinary conservation destination, offering opportunities for research, stewardship, and rigorous guided hikes.

  • Baldwin Natural Area – Provides an opportunity for remote hiking with connection to the scenic river corridor, Baldwin’s diverse forest, and Carver’s Pond. Shadybrook provides cold water habitat and the opportunity for stream restoration.

  •  Little Mountain – To an extraordinary visitor destination for the interpretation of the convergence of geology and natural history, and the interaction of nature and culture. This is also to be an opportunity for research on this locally rare ecosystem. Little Mountain is one of the best remaining examples of white pine-hemlock-northern hardwood forest remaining in Ohio.

  • North Stebbins Gulch –  A National Natural Landmark that is an excellent example of a Northeast Ohio bedrock ravine system. Guided hikes provide a rigorous and rare natural and geologic history experience in a cold water stream ravine. Along the bluffs of Stebbins Gulch is one of the best remaining hemlock-northern hardwood forest remnants in Ohio.

  • South Stebbins Gulch – This 800-acre natural area is Holden’s largest unbroken mature forest and protects the associated diversity of flora and fauna of an old-growth forest. Access is limited to stewardship, research or guided hikes.

  • Brainard Fen –  This unique wetland is a high quality example of a rare ecosystem with very limited access for stewardship and research. 

  • East Branch Chagrin River Corridor – More than 5.5 miles of this state-designated scenic river flows through The Holden Arboretum and provides access to explore and discover the beauty of the river’s habitat.

  • Corning Woods – A 17-acre remnant of a mature mixed oak forest that clearly demonstrates the effect of land use upon forest succession.

For upcoming tours of the natural areas, visit our Forest Explorations class schedule page.