Red Butte Garden happens to be the largest Botanical Garden in the Intermountain West and together with the University of Utah, is a state Arboretum. They are located on 100 acres in the foothills on the eastern edge of the University campus. The garden (which is community funded) has welcomed guests since 1985 and consists of over 21 acres of developed gardens and five miles of hiking trails that wind through an extensive Natural Area. The garden is renowned for its various varieties of plant collections, display gardens, 500,000 Springtime blooming bulbs, including a vast collection of daffodils, world-class outdoor summer concerts, and award-winning horticulture based educational programs.
in 1930, Dr. Walter P. Cottam, co-founder of The Nature Conservancy and chairman of the Botany Department at the University, began using some of the campus's land for plant research. For over thirty years, he evaluated plants to determine their adaptability to the region.
In the year 1961, The Utah State Legislature officially recognized Cottam's incredible collection by designating the University's landscape as the State Arboretum. The original legislation mandated that the Arboretum "provide resources and facilities for cultivating a greater knowledge and public appreciation for the trees and plants around us, as well as those growing in remote sections of the country and world."
With the growth of the Arboretum, The University of Utah hired a Mr. Richard Hildreth as a full-time director to begin meaningful interpretation of the collections and to develop educational programs emphasizing practical horticulture and plant identification.
The garden officially opened its doors to the public in 1985. In the year 1994, The Walter P. Cottam Visitor Center opened. Over the years to come other additions have been the Courtyard Garden, Fragrance Garden, Medicinal Garden, Herb Garden, Hemingway Four Seasons Garden, Dumke Floral Walk, Children's Garden, the Richard K. Hemingway Orangerie, an amphitheater, Gift Shop, the McCarthy Family Rose Garden, and the Water Conservation Garden. (All of which were funded by community donations.)