Forests are one of the most beautiful ecosystems to explore, with their endless array of plant and animal species, not to mention the fresh air and peaceful atmosphere. While there are forests all over the world, some of the most beautiful ones can be found right here in the United States.
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Types of Forests
There are many types of forests with different climates, soils, and vegetation.
Some of the most common types of forests in the US are:
These forests are found in the eastern US and have a moderate climate with cool summers and cold winters. The trees in these forests are mostly deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves in the fall.
These forests are found in the southern US and have a warm climate with hot summers and mild winters.
While the tropical forests on the mainland could be called rainforests, they are much more temperate than the tropical rainforests found in other parts of the world.
Hawaii and Puerto Rico are home to the only tropical rainforest in the US. The trees in tropical forests include broad-leaved evergreen trees and palms.
These forests are found in the northern US and Canada and are characterized by their evergreen trees. The most common type of tree in these forests is the pine tree.
Each type of forest has its own unique set of plants and animals.
Some of the most beautiful forests of all types in the US are:
1. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park sits between two forest types – an eastern deciduous forest and a northern boreal forest. This unique combination of forests provides a diverse array of habitats for wildlife.
On the boreal side, you’ll find evergreen trees like spruce and fir. The deciduous side is home to hardwoods like maple and oak.
The Acadian Forests have a unique climate, thanks to being on the chilly coasts of Maine. The area is cool and foggy in the summer and cold and snowy in the winter.
2. Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania
The Allegheny National Forest is a temperate deciduous forest located in northwestern Pennsylvania. The forest is home to a diverse array of plant and animal life and covers over 500,000 acres.
The Allegheny National Forest is also home to the largest stand of old-growth forest in Pennsylvania.
3. Angeles National Forest, California
The Angeles National Forest is a temperate coniferous forest located in southern California. The forest covers over 1 million acres and is home to a diverse array of plant and animal life.
The forest is home to several lakes and mountains.
4. Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Arizona, New Mexico
The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are located in Arizona and New Mexico. The forest covers nearly 3 million acres.
The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest is known for its cold water lakes and the Mogollon Rim, a geological feature extending over 200 miles.
The Mogollon Rim cuts across the middle of the forest and provides stunning views in all directions.
5. Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming
The Bridger-Teton National Forest is a temperate coniferous forest located in western Wyoming. The forest covers over 3.4 million acres. It’s a wonderful place to experience the wilderness throughout the year.
The Bridger-Teton National Forest is home to the Gros Ventre Wilderness, a large wilderness area with plenty of opportunities for backpacking, camping, and hiking.
6. Buffalo National River, Arkansas
Forests surround the Buffalo National River located in northern Arkansas. The river flows for over 135 miles through the Ozark Mountains.
The Buffalo National River is one of the few remaining free-flowing rivers in the United States. You’ll find several forest types in the area, including Riparian/Floodplain forests, Oak-Maple forests, and Beech forests.
7. Carson National Forest, New Mexico
The Carson National Forest is a temperate coniferous forest located in northern New Mexico. The forest covers over 1.5 million acres.
Ponderosa is one of the most common types of trees you’ll find, as well as other evergreens such as spruce and fir.
8. Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Georgia
The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest is a temperate deciduous forest located in Georgia. The forest covers over 867 million acres, with thousands of miles of rivers and streams.
While you’re there, be sure to visit Lake Lanier and surrounding areas.
There are a few waterfalls located within the forest as well.
9. Cibola National Forest, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma
The Cibola National Forest is located across northern New Mexico, western Texas, and Oklahoma. The forest covers over 1.6 million acres.
The surrounding Chihuahuan desert and prairies influence the ecosystem greatly, with wildlife seeking refuge within the forest.
Animals are diverse and include prairie dogs, black bears, wild turkeys, and cougars.
10. Coconino National Forest, Arizona
The Coconino National Forest is a temperate coniferous forest located in northern Arizona. The forest covers over 1.8 million acres and is home to a diverse array of plant and animal life.
The most common type of tree in the forest is the ponderosa pine. You’ll also find spruce, fir, and Quaking Aspen trees.
11. Coronado National Forest, Arizona, New Mexico
The Coronado National Forest is another coniferous forest located in southern Arizona and New Mexico. The forest covers nearly 2 million acres and has 16 “Sky Islands” that support a variety of plant and animal life.
The Sky Islands are mountain ranges that rise up from the surrounding desert. The unique juxtaposition of ecosystems makes the Coronado National Forest a special place.
12. Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky
The Daniel Boone National Forest is located in central Kentucky and covers over 700,000 acres.
The rugged terrain and beautiful scenery make it a popular destination for seasoned hikers and horseback riders.
13. Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, New Jersey
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area has a diverse landscape, including a large amount of mature hardwood forest.
The hemlock forests within the deep ravines have the oldest trees.
14. Ochoco National Forest, Oregon
The Ochoco National Forest is a dense mixed forest with a variety of tree species. The forest is located in central Oregon and covers nearly 1 million acres.
With several rivers and streams running through it, the Ochoco National Forest is a beautiful place to explore.
What to Bring When Visiting the Forest
When visiting any of the forests listed above, be sure to bring the following:
- A map of the area: you don’t want to get lost!
- A compass: it will help you find your way.
- A flashlight: it gets dark early in the woods, and you don’t want to stumble around in the dark.
- Binoculars: for birdwatching or spotting other wildlife.
- Hiking boots: comfortable shoes are a must when hiking through the woods and will protect your feet from rocks and roots.
- A hat and sunglasses: protect yourself from the sun with a hat and sunglasses.
- Bug spray: there are bound to be insects in the forest, so it’s best to be prepared.
- Sunscreen: even if it’s not sunny, the sun’s rays can be harmful.
- A water bottle: you’ll need to stay hydrated, especially in warmer weather.
- A camera: there are bound to be beautiful sights that you’ll want to remember.
- A trash bag: always haul out what you haul in when visiting the wilderness.
Have you ever visited any of these or other forests? What was your favorite part? Let us know in the comments!