UC Davis Arboretum Headquarters on LaRue Rd., in Valley Oak Cottage, (530) 752-4880. M-F 8-5; arboretum--daily, 24 hours. Free.
A paved 3.5-mile path follows Putah Creek through this peaceful 96-acre garden. A brisk walker can do it in an hour, a moseyer should allow 2 to 3 hours. The arboretum holds more than 22,000 area-friendly plants and trees, which are arranged in a series of gardens that represent geographic areas, plant groups, and horticultural themes. Many plants are marked, so you can learn to distinguish a wild lilac from a big leaf maple, and sometimes more detailed signage explains, for instance, why you might want to plant a Western redbug (for its spring flowers and lovely summer foliage). Among the collections are the Acadia Collection, the Foothill Collection, and a lovely White Flower Garden. You can pick up a free map at the headquarters, or just begin the trail wherever you like. Themed tours are scheduled.
More things to do in Davis.
Yolo County Visitors Bureau
More ideas for exploring Northern California.
image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers