Spring Visits: Rules and Road Safety

Magnolias blooming

Magnolias blooming

Spring is a busy time of year, especially when the spectacular flowering trees bloom in Longenecker Horticultural Gardens. Being outside is more important than ever, and we care deeply about providing access to the outdoors. We’d like to take the opportunity to share some information and reminders about visiting.

Visitor Etiquette

Visitor rules are in place to protect all that lives here, help minimize human impact on the land, facilitate restoration and research efforts, and provide a peaceful, enjoyable visitor experience.

Please stay on trails, lawn areas, and paved roads at all times. Going off trail can damage plants, nesting sites, and other animal habitat, spread invasive species, and disrupt research. To reduce litter, carry out anything you bring in – there are no outdoor trash cans.

Please note the following are not allowed at the Arboretum:

  • Dogs and other pets
  • Picnics
  • Drones
  • Tree climbing, hammocks, and slacklines
  • Sports equipment such as balls and frisbees
  • Collecting plant and animal materials
  • Hunting, target practice, or other use of weapons

Personal photography is allowed, but any posed or formal photography (such as family, senior, engagement, wedding, and other portraits) taken by professional or hobby photographers, requires a photography permit. All parties must follow coronavirus restrictions for photo sessions.

Road safety

Winding two-lane Arboretum/McCaffrey Drive passes through wetlands, prairie, woodland, and a residential neighborhood. The speed limit was reduced to 20 mph last fall (this applies to bicycles, too). New lines have been painted on the road, updated traffic signage has been installed, and crosswalks have been added where trails intersect the road.

Traffic volume is highest in spring – on foot, bicycle, and by car. Safety and access are both important. We ask all road users to share the road responsibly and respectfully. There is always a possibility that wildlife will be present. Please slow down, especially around blind curves, and make space for others. Do not stop or gather on the road.

Drivers: Do not pass other cars. Do not stop in a traffic lane or park on the roadside. Only pass pedestrians and cyclists slowly, when there is room to pass, and do not pass around blind curves.

Cyclists: Ride no more than two abreast. Ride single file when it is safe for a car to pass. Do not pass motor vehicles. Bicycles are not allowed on trails.

Pedestrians: Runners and walkers should stay on the left shoulder of the paved road, facing oncoming traffic. Do not obstruct traffic lanes.

Note that skateboards, roller blades, roller skis, and similar equipment are not allowed. Dogs are not allowed at the Arboretum, including on the road.


Arboretum gardens, trails, and parking lots are open 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Visitor Center is closed and in-person programs are on hold until further notice. See Events for virtual programs.

We continue to follow UW–Madison guidance and recommendations about the Visitor Center, public programs, and facility use. The health and safety of community members, staff, and volunteers are our highest priority. See COVID-19 updates for current information about Arboretum operations.

There are countless ways to enjoy the Arboretum. Please respect the diverse needs and experiences of visitors by adhering to these visitor guidelines. Join us in these efforts to care for the plants, wildlife, landscapes, and human communities that make this place special.

We appreciate your cooperation and support of the Arboretum.