Everyone loves a good stint in nature, and while you may not think about it while you’re enjoying the view, trees are among the most soul-satisfying wilderness sights. If you’d like to get more out of your next national park trip, here are seven of the best destinations for arboreal aficionados.
- Sequoia National Park, California
You’ve no doubt heard of Redwood National Park (and its state park cousin), but did you know sequoias give redwoods a run for their money in the awesome department? Yup. Sequoia National Park, in fact, is home not only to the world’s biggest tree species but flat-out the world’s biggest tree: General Sherman.
- Great Basin National Park, Nevada
The bristlecone pine is a tree that demands respect, growing onto weathered surfaces with gnarly persistence and living to many thousands of years. Head to Great Basin National Park for some of the country’s best specimens.
- Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Okay, we didn’t say the trees had to be living, now did we? Gotcha! Petrified Forest National Park is full of fossilized trees, not to mention scary Phytosaur remains (think monster crocodile) and stunning badlands vistas.
- Congaree National Preserve, South Carolina
Sure, you can hike through a forest, but how often do you get to canoe through one? In Congaree National Preserve, the trees are extremely water tolerant, growing right out of the swamp. That means while viewing these trees, you can rest your legs and work those arms instead.
- Olympic National Park, Washington
Knowing for its soaring, ancient trees, Olympic National Park is a true wonder to behold. As well as being home to the largest known examples of Sitka spruce, Western red cedar, and hemlock, it also houses a huge collection of temperate rainforest flora and fauna.
- Everglades National Park, Florida
Okay, so we lied. Canoeing through a forest isn’t actually that rare because you can do it in the Everglades too. Check out the famous mangroves, whose roots grow right into the water, and which form a major barrier against inclement weather. Lucky Florida!
- Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
This huge park, located on the big island, encompasses an active crater, beaches, and miles of forest. You can hike along jewel-green cliff sides and traipse through soaring forests, the floors of which are relatively clear of other plants, offering unobstructed views of banyans and other tropical trees.
See? No need to wonder … next time you’re planning a national park vacation, make sure it’s a truly tree-tastic one.
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