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Willowwood Arboretum

300 Longview Road
Chester Township, NJ 07931

T: (973) 326 - 7601

Hours:
M-F: Daily, sunrise to sunset.
Sat-Sun: Daily, 8am to sunset.

Directions

Amenities

This incredible arboretum offers a peaceful retreat from everyday life with beautiful vistas, formal and informal gardens, meadow paths and a chance to view rare specimens that are true horticultural treasures. Breathe in the scents of the seasons: lilacs in spring, roses in summer, crisp conifer-laced air in autumn, and witch hazels in winter. With more than 2,100 plant species dispersed among the property, there is color every month of the year.

Plan Your Visit

With a collection of over 2,100 types of native and exotic plants, the gardens of the Willowwood Arboretum feature many rare species. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, please respect these guidelines.

To best enjoy your visit, we encourage you to:

  • Explore our website prior to your visit.
  • View a map of our gardens and trails and learn about our 7 unique garden areas and numerous state Champion trees.
  • Check our hours of operations and note special announcements.
  • Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring water, a hat, sunscreen, and bug spray as needed. Insects, including ticks, bees, and mosquitoes, are part of our ecosystem.

During your visit:

  • Take photos! Photography for personal use is allowed, provided it does not disrupt other visitors. Commercial photography and filming, wedding, engagement, and similar types of photography require a permit. To obtain a photography permit, please click here to fill out the Event Request Form.
  • Learn more about the gardens by following along the cell phone tour (available seasonally from April thru November). Download the Step by Step Tour Guide which will provide full instructions plus a readable script for each stop on the cellphone tour.
  • Picnic on our lawns throughout the formal gardens. Please plan to take your trash with you as you leave. Food and beverages are not sold onsite.
  • Please refrain from climbing trees, picking plants and flowers, walking into the water features.
  • For safety purposes, all trail users must stay on signed/blazed trails or walkways.
  • Pets are not permitted at arboreta as per article XII, Section K of the Morris County Park Commission Rules and Regulations.
  • Bow and firearm hunting may be permitted in some parks. Please contact the Natural Resources Office at 973.285.6552 for more information.

To learn more Trail Courtesy, What to Bring, and other trail tips on how to share this pristine, natural space with each other – check our Trail Resources!

Maps

Letter – 8.5″ x 11″ (1 page)

Try MCPC Explorer, a web-based, interactive, experience, where you can view your current location, search parks by activity/amenity, find trails by permitted uses, easily download offline maps to your mobile device and more!

Programs & Activities
  • Self-guided cellphone tour
  • Seasonal programs and special events for visitors of all ages.
  • Hiking
  • Champion Trees
  • Host your next special event or photography session!
History

Brothers Robert and Henry Tubbs bought the property in 1908 to pursue their love of horticulture. They collected a wide spectrum of species and took great care and interest in the development and growth of the plants at their farm. The brothers befriended many noted horticulturists, botanists and others who shared their passion. With the help of their friends, they created rolling meadows interspersed with planned and designed gardens.

The brothers were introduced to Dr. Benjamin Blackburn by their neighbor, Martha Brooks Hutcheson. Dr. Blackburn, a botanist who taught at Rutgers and Drew Universities, first started coming to Willowwood on the weekends during the 1930s. After serving in World War II, Dr. Blackburn returned to the farm and helped Henry rejuvenate the grounds. In 1946, Dr. Blackburn moved to Willowwood permanently and was adopted by Henry three years later. Together, they carried on the work at Willowwood.

After the deaths of the brothers, Willowwood was left to Wildlife Preserves, Inc. in 1958, a non-profit group whose goal was to preserve the land and its natural state. In Henry Tubbs’ Last Will and Testament, he specified that Willowwood be held and maintained ‘in perpetuity’ as an arboretum and used for public educational purposes. It remained a private arboretum until 1967, when Rutgers University assumed ownership. In March 1980, the Morris County Park Commission acquired Willowwood Arboretum from Rutgers University and maintains the property to this day.