In accordance with Western Carolina University’s policies in response to Covid-19, Highlands Biological Station is currently closed to the public with the exception of the Botanical Garden trails, but does remain open to researchers and faculty on a limited basis; please contact the HBS office (828-526-2602) for information on reservations, rates, and Covid-19 policies.  We currently plan to offer our field courses, workshops, Grant-in-Aid program, and HBS Nature Center programs in summer 2021, with Covid-19 safety protocols in place (TBA).​ Please bear in mind, however, that University policy and HBS program plans are subject to change in light of developments with the pandemic this winter and spring, and those interested in attending HBS courses or programs or utilizing HBS facilities in spring or summer 2021 should check the HBS website regularly for updates.


Gathering Spaces on Campus

Looking for a place to picnic after you visit the Nature Center?  Check out these spots on our campus!


Our amphitheater is a large, open space located just behind the Nature Center.  It consists of five grassy terraces lined with stone, perfect for sitting after a nice hike or gathering groups together in a natural area.  It also features a stage area with butterfly and salamander photo stand-ins for a great photo opportunity.


Our pavilion, made possible through the generous support of Mountain Findings, is located just passed our amphitheater along the edge of the meadow.  It provides a nice refuge from the sun and rain, and it features several picnic tables that can easily be transitioned into benches depending on your need. 


Our meadow is a large, open area surrounded by our Cherokee, Native Grass, and Phenology Gardens. It is also available for gatherings.  Bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic while observing native birds and pollinators visiting the area and then gather everyone to play a game of Cornhole.

Picnic Tables

HBS also has picnic tables located just outside of the Nature Center back door and several benches scattered throughout the campus including by the entrance to the Botanical Garden and by the lake that are available for use.