About DeHart Botanical Gardens
(Note: Trails Temporarily Closed Due to Ice Damage-December 2018-March 2019)
Educator, philanthropist and Ferrum College alum Allen DeHart, of Louisburg, NC, gifted the 172 acre DeHart Botanical Gardens to his alma mater in December 2012. Founded by DeHart and located near Lover’s Leap Overlook on Route 58 W in Patrick County, Va., DeHart Botanical Gardens is a rare nature preserve featuring a diverse population of plant and animal species as well as spectacular views that rival those seen from the famous overlook. The Gardens include wildflowers, old growth hardwoods, azalea, rhododendron, and wildlife, as well as freshwater streams, waterfalls, geological formations and caves, nature trails, and the stone foundation of a pioneer home site.
The College uses the property as a “living laboratory” in its Environmental Science and other sustainability-related programs. As one of the oldest academic programs of its kind in the United States, the College’s Environmental Science program emphasizes experiential learning and provides students with state-of-the art training so they may approach environmental problems holistically. The gift of the Gardens extends the College’s footprint from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Smith Mountain Lake, where the College has held the Smith Mountain Lake Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program since 1987.
Although a private preserve, it is open to the public by permission as a day use facility for hiking a loop trail from the top of the ridge to a waterfall at the base of the mountain. Evidence of a pioneer mountain home is along the way. Hiking to the ridge-top provides a scenic view of Smith River Valley and the only complete view of Rocky Knob anywhere from US 58. The entire loop is strenuous. For permission and release forms please contact the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Ferrum College at 540-365-4370.