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Jill Sanford | 10.31.2017

As the name old-growth forest suggests, these types of woods are relatively undisturbed and utterly enchanting. Picture yourself strolling through a dense thicket of tall trees dressed in lichen, ferns flourishing in the fertile soil, and sunlight streaming through the towering branches.

Most old-growth forests are ecologically diverse places that provide habitats for a variety of wild species. Unique animals, insects, fungi, mosses and lichens all make their homes here. They also are natural water filtration systems that cleanse rainfall as it makes its way to our rivers, streams, and reservoirs.

Another characteristic of old-growth forests is the multigenerational signs of growth and decay. Ancient trees might tower above saplings growing out of downed logs in an incredibly fertile environment. These types of forests also store a ton of carbon, and the destruction of old-growth forests results in large carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

In some parts of the world, clear-cutting, urban sprawl, and other signs of civilization have encroached on these forests, leaving scars on the landscape in their wake. As sad as these bare patches are, it makes old growth forests that much more remarkable today.

Preserving and managing old-growth forests is an important aspect of forestry. These incredible landscapes are gems not just from a biological perspective, but from an outdoor recreation angle as well. Some of the best hiking, camping, mountain biking, and other types of active pursuits are found in old-growth forests, especially in the Pacific Northwest but also in other parts of the country.

Here are a few of our favorite old-growth adventures throughout the country. As you play in these forests, take a moment to appreciate the incredible scenery and biodiversity that surrounds you from the top of the trees to the spongy, nutrient-dense forest floor. 

Northwest

California

Other Areas

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