Highlands Biological Station is open to visitors. Masks are still required in the Nature Center, but are no longer required on campus, including the Botanical Garden. Highlands Biological Station is offering academic and public programming this summer. For the safety of the HBS summer community, before being permitted to work or study at HBS prospective summer students, teaching faculty, and researchers must provide documentation of (1) having received a Covid-19 vaccine or (2) a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of planned arrival.

About Us

The Highlands Biological Station (HBS) is a multi-campus center of Western Carolina University. It is made up of the Highlands Nature Center, Laboratory, and Botanical Garden. HBS is supported in part by the Highlands Biological Foundation. Our mission is: 

To foster research and education focused on the rich natural heritage of the Highlands Plateau, while preserving and celebrating the integrity of the “biological crown of the southern Appalachian Mountains.”

HBS realizes its mission of education and research broadly through
– Supporting scientific research and graduate training
– Offering accredited field-centered courses and community workshops/seminars
– Hosting visiting academic researchers and classes
– Providing diverse outreach programming for regional K-12 schools and the local community

Woodcut image of local flowers, a nature scene and a salamanderStation Logo

The three panels of the HBS logo symbolize the key facets of the Station.

The Nature Center is represented by the salamander panel, the Botanical Garden is symbolized by Oconee bells, and the research and educational dimensions of the Station and Foundation are represented by the central panel signifying the ecology of the Highlands Plateau.

Click on the buttons below to learn more about each panel of the Logo.

Getting Here

Our address is: 265 North Sixth Street, Highlands, NC 28741

  • From Cashiers, NC:  Take Hwy 64 W to Highlands and turn left onto Main St.  Continue straight through town. Turn left onto Sixth St. and make a right turn into the Station driveway.
  • From Franklin, NC:  Take Hwy 64 E (the Gorge Road) to Highlands.  Road becomes Main Street.  Continue straight through town.  Turn left onto Sixth St. and make a right turn into the Station driveway.
  • From Walhalla, SC:  Take Hwy 28 to Highlands and turn right onto Main Street.  Continue straight through town. Turn left onto Sixth St. and make a right turn into the Station driveway.
  • From Dillard, GA:  Take Hwy 106 to Highlands and turn right onto Main Street.  Continue straight through town. Turn left onto Sixth St. and make a right turn into the Station driveway.