A Guide to America’s Lush Forests: Celebrating National Forest Week with our Top Wooded Adventures

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2024

This week, we celebrate the beauty of the  States' vast forest lands. From tropical to temperate to boreal, plus many more, the U.S. has 823 million acres of forests and woodlands, which is over one-third of the nation's landscape!

These forests are home to many unique species, beautiful flora landscapes, and life-sustaining oxygen. Just one step in a forest has numerous mental health and well-being benefits. And because of this, we love traveling across America to experience the many breathtaking forests.

Below are a few of our favorite forest destinations to explore in. 


Adirondacks State Park

  • Location: Northern New York
  • Forest type: Northern hardwood and boreal
  • Size: 6 million acres


Escape from the hustle and bustle of New York City and head north to the vast wilderness area of the Adirondack Region. Visitors can explore more than 2,000 miles of hiking trails, over 3,000 lakes and ponds, and 1,200 miles of rivers.

Not only are the Adirondacks the largest state park in the contiguous U.S., but they also cover one-fifth of the state of New York, are equal to the size of Vermont, and expand nearly three times the size of Yellowstone National Park!

Some of our favorite ways to see the beauty of this park include hiking and kayaking; we love traveling here in the fall as the weather tends to be comfortable and bugs are scarcely seen.


Trips we take to the Adirondacks:




  • Main location: South East and Central Alaska
  • Forest type: Rainforests and boreal
  • Size: 129 million acres


Alaska is commonly known for its large glacier-carved valleys and mountain scenery, but it is also famous for its vast forests. Alaska is home to 129 million acres of forest land, all of which fall into two main categories – temperate rainforests and boreal forests.

The Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska covers 17 million acres, making it the nation’s largest national forest. The rest of the state’s forest land is predominantly boreal forests, which comprise 114 million acres among Alaska’s interior land.

Our Anchorage to Fairbanks trip takes travelers on hikes through various of Alaska’s boreal forests!


Trips we take to Alaska:



The Appalachian Trail

  • Location: Eastern United States
  • Forest type: Oak-hickory, northern hardwoods, spruce-fir, and open pine communities
  • Size: 2,180 mile trail


The Appalachian Trail, stretching from Georgia to Maine, is a must-visit for any adventure seeker. It's not just the longest hiking-only footpath in the world but also a diverse landscape that passes through 14 states and eight national forests, home to over 158 tree species.

At AGC, we offer section slackpacking hiking trips through various parts of the Appalachian Trail. Slackpacking trips combine the best of both worlds: a long day hiking in the backcountry carrying only a day’s worth of supplies, followed by a hot meal, shower, and overnight stay at a nearby lodge.


Trips we offer along the Appalachian Trail:


Big Fork

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

  • Location: Kentucky and Tennessee
  • Forest type: Rich mixed-deciduous, hemlock ravine, and floodplain
  • Size: 125,000 acres


This geological wonder and hidden gem is in the corner of southeastern Kentucky and northern Tennessee. The National Park Services oversees the Big South Fork as a natural river and recreation area.

Filled with 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau, the Big South Fork boasts more than 300 miles of trails that weave through soaring cliffs, waterfalls, caves, sandstone arches, and forests. Plus, the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River stretches 76 miles through the park, offering paddlers a great place to explore and cool down on a hot day.

Summers in Kentucky and Tennessee tend to be very warm, and because of that, we tend to travel here in early spring and mid-fall when temperatures are perfect for hiking, averaging no more than 70 degrees.


The trip we take to the Big South Fork:


Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • Location: The border of North Carolina and Tennessee
  • Forest type: Spruce-fir, Northern hardwood, Cove hardwood, Hemlock, Oak-hickory, Pine-oak, Montane alluvia, and Successional
  • Size: 522,427


This National Park is treasured for its ancient mountains, biodiversity, rushing waterfalls, and over 900 miles of excellent hiking trails. The eight major forest types above cover 96% of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Beyond the Smoky’s natural beauty, visitors can also explore the park’s nearly 80 historic buildings. The National Park offers beauty in every season, but our favorite time to visit is in spring to experience gorgeous wildflowers and fall to witness spectacular fall foliage.


Trips we take to the Smokies:


Redwoods National Park

Redwoods National and State Parks

  • Location: Northernmost coastal California
  • Forest type: Old-growth coast redwood
  • Size: 139,000 acres


California’s Redwoods National and State Parks offer an ultimate oasis for tree and forest lovers. These parks are very treasured locations as they are home to the largest contiguous old-growth redwoods, some of which grow over 300 feet tall and live to be 2,000 years old!

Beyond the Parks’ awe-inspiring redwoods, Redwoods National and State Parks hold an additional trove of experience for nature lovers, including visits to fern-filled canyons, starfish-studded tidepools, mighty rivers and streams, and miles of beachcombing.

Walking through any part of the Redwoods National and State Parks is truly an awe-inspiring experience. Whenever we travel here, we gain a deep connection with nature and the wellness and inspiration it brings.


The trip we take to the Redwoods:


Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park

  • Location: Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia
  • Forest type: Chestnut and red oak
  • Size: 198,000 acres 


Located just 75 miles west of Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park offers a peaceful pause from the noise of our nation’s capital and rewards visitors with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Park is home to 500 miles of trails, 101 of which are part of the Appalachian Trail. It’s not hard to take in the beauty of a forest here as more than 95% of the park is forested, and over half of the land is populated with chestnut or red oak forests.

Our favorite way to explore this park is by hiking from lodge to lodge; we spend our day in the park and ‘come home’ to warm beds and hot food every night. The tranquility and peace that envelops you in this park is truly rejuvenating.


The trip we take to Shenandoah National Park:


Whether during National Forest Week or sometime this year, we hope you can soak in the wonder, beauty, and diverse landscape of our world's forests. Spending time in a forest provides many perks that a person likely can not get anywhere else, including fresh oxygen and clean water, as well as benefits to mental health, physical health, and the immune system. This list is just a start on all the excellent forest land our planet calls home to. The U.S.’s share of land covered by forest is in the top 5 countries in the world, so hopefully, no matter where you are in the U.S., wooded land is not far away. Happy foresting!

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