The United States has the worlds most old-growth forests that are home to rare plan and animal species that make old-growth forests a tourist magnent to both locals and international visitors.
If you are planning to visit the United States to catch a glimps of the country’s old-growth forests then buy yourself a USA prepaid SIM card that comes with high-speed data, cheap calls, and SMS.
Find below a list of the top 5 biggest old-growth national forests in the United States, which are a must-see on your next holiday or business trip to the USA.
1. Tongass national forest
America’s largest national forest, the Tongass is also the country’s biggest old-growth forest. It is a land of beauty, mystery and a tourist’s paradise that is home to glaciers, grizzly bears, killer whales, majestic waterfalls, mountains, islands and all fives species of pacific salmon.
- Location (State): Alaska
- Area: 2.2 million hectars (6.8 million ha of old-growth forests)
- Nearest city: Ketchikan
- Known for: Largest continguous temperate rainforest in the world
- Established: 10 September 1907
- Tourist attractions: Alexander Archipelago, Grizzly bears, Nugget falls, Deer Mountain, Mendenhall Glacier, White Sulfur Springs, LeConte Glacier, Chichagoff Island, Tenakee Springs, El Capitan Cave, Admiralty Island, Stikine-LeConte Wilderness, Misty Fjords Waterfall and St. Lazaria Island
- Things to do: View bears, fishing, marine tours, whale watching, 450 miles of hiking trails, explore caves, bath in hot springs, camping & see glaciers
- Visitors per year: 2.8 million (2020, Tongass National Forest 2022 Visitor Guide)
2. Ouachita national forest
- Location (State): Arkansas & Oklahoma
- Area: 730 000 ha (320 000 ha of old-growth trees)
- Nearest city: Hot Springs
- Known for: Oldest and largest national forest in the southern region
- Established: 18 December 1907
- Tourist attractions: Shady Lake, Reed Mountain, Cedar Lake, Bear Mountain, Bard Springs, Little Missouri Falls, Ouachita Mountains, Lake Sylvia and Kiamichi Mountains.
- Animals to see: Mountain Lion, Black bear, Red fox, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Nine-banded Armadillo, Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, White-tailed Deer & Muskrat
- Things to do: Backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, camping, fishing, horseback riding, birdwatching, canoeing, scenic driving, boating, shooting ranges, and rock collecting
3. Winema national forest
- Location (State): Oregon
- Area: 912 000 ha (288 004 ha of old-growth trees)
- Nearest city: Klamath Falls
- Known for: Named after John C. Frémont
- Established: 2002
- Tourist attractions: Mitchell Monument, Yamsay Mountain, Pelican Butte, Lake of the Woods Resort, and Elkhorn Mountains
- Animals to see: Rocky mountain elk, black bear, pronghorn, mallards, bull trout, nothern spotted owl, coyotes, badgers, cougars, trout, porcupine, pronghorn antelope, bobcats, whilstling swans and mule deer
- Things to do: Hiking, camping, boating, backpacking, horseback riding, mountain biking, leisure driving, skiing, hunting, and fishing
4. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie national forest
- Location (State): Washington
- Area: 697 770 ha (260,400 ha of old-growth trees)
- Nearest city: Everett
- Known for: The 1935 version of The Call of the Wild was filmed on location in Mount Baker national forest
- Established: 1974
- Tourist attractions: Bridal viel falls, Glacier Peak, Snow lake, Franklin Ffalls, Mount Baker, Lake Serene. Twin falls, Deming Glacier, Nooksack falls, Picture lake, Roosevelt Glacier, Lake Ann, Mazama falls, Hyak old rail tunnel, Suiattle Glacier, Table mountain, Warm creek falls, Ptarmigan Ridge, Sauk mountain, Lava divide falls, Lower bagely lake, Gold run falls,and Honeycomb Glacier
- Animals to see: American black bear, Yellow-pine Chipmunk, cougars, western toad, Douglas’ Squirre, red slug, and margined white butterfly, Long-toed Salamander, Sooty Grouse, Band-tailed Pigeon, Golden Eagle, Snowshoe Hare, Yellow-pine Chipmunk, Cascade Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel, Pacific Marten, Wolverine, Hoary Marmot, and coyote
- Things to do: Bird watching, hiking, mountain biking, camping, berry picking, fishing,skiing, views from artists point, wildlife watching, river rafting, sightseeing, and snowmobiling
5. Willamette national forest
- Location (State): Oregon
- Area: 679 075 ha (240 700 ha of old-growth forests)
- Nearest cities: Eugene, Salem & Oakridge
- Known for: 7 volcanic mountains in the Willamette
- Established:1 July 1933
- Tourist attractions: McDowell Creek Falls, Mount Jefferson, McKenzie River, Mount Washington, North Fork Middle Fork Willamette River, Three Fingered Jack, Dee Wright Observatory, Waldo Lake, Three Fingered Jack, Koosah Falls, Diamond Peak, Willamette Pass Ski Area, Three Pools, Diamond Peak, Sawmill Falls, North, Lava River, Middle and South Sisters, Marion Lake, Fuji Mountain, Hoodoo Ski Resort, and Detroit Lake
- Animals to see: Northern spotted owl, mule deer, bald eagle, Chinook salmon, black-tailed deer, bull trout, black bear, cougar, southern red-backed vole, elk, and wolverine,
- Things to do: Skiing, mountain biking, boating, backpacking, wildlife viewing, hiking trails and sightseeing
- Visitors per year: 1,74 million (2006)
6. USA old growth forest FAQ
- What is an old-growth forest?
- A forest that has unique ecological features as a result of growing undisturbed for more 100 years is known as an old-growth forest.
- What is the oldest tree in the USA?
- The oldest tree in the United States is the Great Bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California
- Which state has the most old-growth forests in the United States?
- The Alaska state has the most old-growth forests in the United States of America.
- Why are old growth forests important?
- Old-growth forests are important because they are the largest terrestrial carbon stores in the world and contain a lot of rare species.
- What is the biggest old-growth forest in the USA?
- The biggest old-growth forest in the United States is the Tongass national forest.
- How much old growth forest remains in the United States?
- Old-growth forests account for 7% of the US forest cover.
- What is the biggest threat to US old growth forests?
- The biggest threat to old-growth forests in the USA is the logging industry
- Which country has the most old-growth forests in the world?
- The United States of America is the country with the most old-growth forests in the world.