With the unseasonably warm temperatures we have had this winter, late February felt a bit more like early spring. Nevertheless, Maple Syrup Days at The Dawes Arboretum kicked off this past weekend with a crowd of curious visitors wanting to learn about the source of the sweet stuff.

It Starts With a TreeDawes Arboretum maple syrup trail
Sugar maples, as their name suggests, stand out among other maple trees for their high sugar content, making them ideal for producing the sweet syrup that we love.  In fact, sugar maples were among some of the first trees transplanted by the Dawes family on Arboretum grounds.  We’ve been harvesting the sap and educating visitors about the maple syrup-making process since the 1960s.

At The Arboretum, it is our tradition to tap our trees just after Presidents Day.  Volunteers and staff spend hours preparing the maple trees — drilling holes, inserting spiles and placing receptacles on them — to collect the dripping sap.  As temperatures begin to rise above freezing with cold nights and sunny days, sap from maple trees begins to flow.

The Maple Syrup TrailDawes Arboretum evaporator2
Just off the main parking area, you’ll find the Maple Syrup Trail where you can learn all about the history and process of tree tapping and maple sugaring as you meander down a wooded path towards the Log Cabin.  Along the trail, informational signage and visual aids help tell the historic tale of maple syrup-making at The Dawes Arboretum and portions of North America.

Inside the Log Cabin, docents greet you with a warm fire and a taste of syrup as you witness the evaporator at work.  During Maple Syrup Days, the cabin is open from 10am to 4pm daily and guided tours along the trail are offered on Saturdays at 2pm.  The trail can also be enjoyed as a self-guided experience anytime the grounds are open.  Organized groups can call to schedule a free, private tour by contacting us online or calling (740) 323-2355.

Bring the whole family to The Dawes Arboretum from now until Sunday, March 12, and make your way down the Maple Syrup Trail for an interesting and educational experience.