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The Deer Park is a 250-acre area on the south and west sides of Biltmore House, and designed by Olmsted to provide idyllic views for George Vanderbilt and his guests, and as a place to stroll or ride through groves of trees.

Characterized by larger areas of lawn interspersed with smaller stands of trees, and inspired by the English estates Olmsted admired, this “pastoral” style was used very intentionally in Olmsted’s designs for Biltmore and his other projects.

The Lagoon, at the lowest point of the Deer Park, adds another element of the pastoral as a reflecting surface of water, while also serving as a setting for such recreations as fishing, boating, and picnicking. Though part of Olmsted’s original design for the estate, the Lagoon was not completed until 1897.

 

This ca. 1950 aerial photograph shows Olmsted’s landscapes surrounding Biltmore House after they had matured. Note the more sparsely populated Deer Park behind the house with visible grassy areas, in contrast to the dense forests flanking it.

 

Deer Park Trail

Guests are encouraged to explore the Deer Park Trail, a 1.2-mile path with steep elevation changes that runs between the Lagoon and Biltmore House and passes through Deer Park.

“There is no park-like land on the Estate. None in which park-like scenery of a notably pleasing character, could be gained in a life time… The best place in which to keep deer or other animals where they may be seen to advantage, and which will as far as practicable, have what is otherwise to be desired in a private park, will be on the west side of the residence where it can be looked into from its windows and terrace.”

—Frederick Law Olmsted to George Vanderbilt, July 12, 1889.

 

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