Forests are tranquil and calm places. They can help clear your mind with their natural beauty, pure states and mysterious depths. Whether you pack your backpack and don your hiking boots for a wilderness trip or just visit for a day and a short walk in the woods, forests offer a variety of ways in which to enjoy yourself. But which forests are the most beautiful? Well, here’s a look at some of the greatest forests in North America.
Redwood National Park
Just inland from the California coast, Redwood National Park plays host to the tallest and largest species of trees in the world. This park is actually a combination of four different Redwood preserves, which are home to 45 percent of all coastal redwood. Many campsites litter these parks for hikers, cyclists, and drivers. Trails spread throughout the forest and there are many nooks and crannies that are left without signs, so exploration is a must.
Take some good shoes or boots for the trails, as some are quite long and you don’t want blisters. In the winter months, the Redwoods are quite cold so make sure you and any travel companions have adequate clothing, no matter the weather. In the spring and summer months, check out the canopy tours which utilize zip-lines, rope bridges, and obstacle courses.
Olympic National Forest
Up north, past the state of Oregon, you can find the Olympic National Forest in Washington. This forest, at the foot of the Olympic mountains, is dreary and rainy in the winter months, but in late spring and summer, the sun hits and the plants come alive in ways seen in few other places in the world. This forest spans well over 900,000 acres, has a vast variety of campsites, trails, and beach access, as well as treks that take you further into the mountains.
The Olympic National Forest also has rivers where native steelhead can be caught, and salmon runs off the coast. No state fishing licence is required for river fishing, however, while fishing from shore in the Pacific, a license is required. With all these activities available, the Olympic National Forest is one of the most overlooked forests in North America due to the long months of gloomy winter weather.
El Yunque National Forest
You’ll have to leave the mainland for this one, El Yunque is in Puerto Rico and is the only tropical rain forest in the National Forest System of the United States. This beautiful forest has many hikes that lead you to water falls and cool pools for swimming. There are tours regularly, and guides teach about the vast variety of trees that grow there, over 240 species. Relax on Luquillo Beach if you don’t feel like a hike, and soak up rays with a good book before a canopy and zip line tour that gives you a unique view of the forest.
Banff National Park
Banff National Park has a variety of activities that you won’t find anywhere else. Ski and snowboard in the winter, hike and swim in Lake Louise in the summer. Take the gondola up to the lookout and enjoy the spectacular alpine views of the forests below. This rugged landscape gives you a different experience every time of year, whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast, or want a camping trip of a lifetime.