To many, America is known for its beloved wilderness areas and protected national forests. Though there are many to choose from, here are four forests that you should not pass up the chance to see.
Redwood National and State Parks
Have you ever felt the need to hug a tree? You will in the Redwood National Forest. Some of the world’s largest trees are located within the 40 miles of coastline forest of California. There are areas that allow you to drive your vehicle through the massive redwoods where you can snap pics of your family members attempting to wrap their arms around the giants. The state park was founded over 150 years ago and offers over 200 miles of trail for your exploring pleasure.
Due to the close proximity to the ocean, there are fairly temperate weather patterns in the area. The temperature typically stays within a range of low 40 to low 60 degrees Fahrenheit for a majority of the year, with an average of 60-80 inches of rain falling from October through April. Come prepared for all types of weather; make sure to pack your rubber boots, a sturdy rain jacket, and shelter to be prepared for the intermittent rain, but most can expect to explore this area in warmer, sunny weather. Speaking of sunny weather, be ready for the surf season by reading these best stand up paddle board reviews.
Kaibab National Forest
Kaibab National Forest is not what most people picture when they think of Arizona. Located in the northern part of the state, the area offers many different recreational opportunities away from the heat of its major cities. The local creek has carved out miles of canyons and passageways that await your exploration.
Though you may be a few degrees cooler in this area, you may want to be prepared for the few days a year that reach 120 degrees in the direct sun. Stay near the water and avoid following mule deer trails is advised due to the lack of trail maintenance and ability to easily get lost in the heat. This remarkable park has much to offer with elevations ranging from 2,000 feet at the river bottom to 6,000 feet on the rim. We suggest visiting the area in early spring before the area gets too hot to enjoy mid-day walks.
Carson National Forest
New Mexico only has five national forests located within the state, but the one that really stands out from the rest is the 1.5 million acres of Carson National Forest. The forest is home to Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico at 13,161 feet. This area is wonderful to visit year-round due to its large offering of recreational opportunities.
The mountain area is home to cool summer temperatures that lure vacationers and locals to the quiet mountain sounds. In the summer, outdoor enthusiasts come with their best trail cameras to Carson for the fishing, hunting, camping and hiking that is widely available. The area has campgrounds suitable for families and car campers, as well as many beautiful areas to backpack for camping under the stars. Winter activities include skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
Deschutes National Forest
Located in central Oregon, Deschutes National Forest covers 1.6 million acres, offering a number of opportunities and acreage available for your adventures. In the winter months, visit Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort for a day of skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing. The surrounding area can be seen by snowmobile or backcountry touring. In the summer, explore hundreds of miles on an ATV, horseback, or by hiking. Bring along your water shoes and play in the Deschutes River or rent a whitewater boat to take out your tube, stand-up paddle board, or kayak. Make sure to check the weather in this area before leaving home. It tends to shift dramatically from week to week, so plan accordingly.
[About the author: Whitney Chandler is an outside enthusiast. She considers herself a “wild woman writer of the western outdoors.”]