Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

A nonprofit organization

$25,112 raised by 80 donors

100% complete

$13,800 Goal

Your gift to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens powers a team of scientists, educators, horticulturists and volunteers to support the mission to deepen understanding and promote conservation of alpine plants and fragile mountain environements. Your gift supports the education, conservation, and horticulture programs that are the vital parts of achieving this mission.

Goal: 80 donations. 24 hours of giving. 1 mission. 


"The Gardens give Vail its soul." - Longtime Vail Local

"It is amazing with what you do here with such a small staffl"
- 50+ year old summer Gardens' visitor

"Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is absolutely breathtaking and a wonderful experience for the whole family. If you take a trip to Vail and miss the Gardens, you will be very disappointed!" Tracie Kempton, seasonal resident.

Giving Activity


"To deepen understanding and promote conservation of alpine plants and the fragile mountain environment."

Background Statement

At 8,200 feet in Vail, Colorado, Betty Ford Alpine is the highest botanical garden in the world. The Gardens began as a simple display garden and are now recognized as one of the foremost authorities on high-altitude plants and showcases the largest collection of rare, exotic and imperiled alpine plants.

1985: The Gardens are founded as the Vail Alpine Garden Foundation

1988: The Gardens are renamed Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in honor of former First Lady Betty Ford (1918 - 2011). The Gardens' location is in the heart of Vail's Gerald R. Ford Park.

The original idea for the Gardens came through the collaboration of two longtime Vail residents, landscape designer Marty Jones and Helen Fritch, a gardening hobbyist who listened to Jones' ideas for a botanical garden during an automotive journey through the Colorado High Country in 1983. As the organization expanded in size and commitment, an executive director and garden staff were hired. Currently, volunteers and docents support our staff by donating more than 2,000 hours of their time each year. Our volunteers help maintain the Gardens, give educational tours, help with the gift shops and work at promotional and educational events.

Today, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is comprised of four distinct sections:

1989: Mountain Perennial Garden

1991: Mountain Meditation

1999: Alpine Rock Garden

2002: Schoolhouse and Children's Garden

Additionally, the Gardens were one of the early adopters within the general community of botanic gardens to offer horticulture therapy classes to those seeking the restorative powers of connecting with nature. The Gardens' plant collection showcases more than 3,000 species of high-altitude plants from the Rocky Mountains as well as other mountainous regions of the world.

The Gardens partners with other organizations to promote habitat conservation and restoration and to contribute to the science of species conservation. It has collaborated with such as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Botanic Gardens Conservation International and the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. Partnering with like-minded organizations, the Gardens continually increases its education offerings for people of all ages to help them appreciate the wonders and intricacies of our mountain landscape and engage them in sustaining it for years to come.

Mrs. Ford once noted: "When we first talked of plans for the Vail Alpine Gardens, I never dreamed it would grow and flourish to such magnitude. But as each season brings new blooms and greater beauty to the Gardens, they become a source of infinite pride and pleasure for all of us." Before her passing she also shared the following thought: "I visit as often as I can, but it is never often enough."

Come and experience Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and discover this this remarkable high-elevation treasure which serves as a place of beauty and serenity, education, scientific study, and a unique living legacy to Betty Ford - the First Lady of our country and of our own community here in the Vail Valley.

Organization Data


Organization name

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

other names

Vail Alpine Garden Foundation

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)





Administrative Offices 522 South Frontage Road East
Vail, CO 81657

Service areas

Eagle County, CO, US




970-476-0103 5

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