The 8 Most Scenic National Forests in the United States

Photo by Bailey Berg Tongass is a must-visit national forest for travelers. Like national parks , U.S. national forests protect a vast array of flora and fauna and preserve some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. But what sets these spaces apart is that they can be used for other purposes too, like hunting, lumber, and wider recreation. Bonus: Dogs are usually banned on national park trails but welcomed in national forests. The United States’ 155 national forests encompass more than 188 million acres of public land across the country—or roughly the size of Texas and West Virginia combined. Many national forests border national parks, so they offer similar scenery but are far less trafficked. In fact, it will often feel like you have the protected areas all to yourself. Here are the eight most beautiful national forests to visit in the United States. 1. Tongass National Forest Alaska Where to stay: Pybus Point Lodge At 16.9 million acres, Tongass National Forest is the largest of the U.S. national forests. It stretches throughout the Inside Passage region in southeast Alaska (a common destination for cruises to Alaska ) alongside British Columbia; it is so vast that it encompasses both the largest temperate rain forest in the world and the nearly 14-mile-long Mendenhall Glacier. Beyond hiking, fishing, and kayaking, bear viewing is also a popular reason to visit Tongass, especially in July when salmon are heading upstream. Photo by My Good Images/Shutterstock Visit San Juan National Forest for Rocky Mountain landscapes. 2. San Juan National Forest Colorado Where to stay: Madeline Hotel & Residences Auberge Resorts Collection San Juan National Forest’s 1.8 million acres have mesas, mountain peaks, as well as ample mountain and gravel biking trails for cyclists and opportunities for off-roading. There’s also a vast network […]

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