When you imagine a forest, you probably picture green leaves, rich brown earth, and maybe even a groundcover of dry, reddish pine needles. But some forests have these colors and then some. Our world is filled with forests bursting with color, whether that color comes from leaves changing color in autumn, brightly-colored animal residents, or even dazzling lakes.
List of Colorful Forests
Here’s our list of the most colorful forests in the world:
1. The Amazon
- Location: South America
- Size: 2,100,000 square miles
- Age: Between 56 million and 33.9 million years old
- Animal species: Includes scarlet macaws, poison dart frogs, howler monkeys, jaguars, black caimans, and anacondas.
- Colorful feature: The forest canopy of the Amazon rainforest is full of sunlit leaves, impossibly bright flowers, and many-colored birds. The Amazon River also courses through, and it is filled with many types of colorful river fish.
When you ask anyone about the most colorful forests in the world, they’ll probably think of the Amazon first. This massive rainforest is primarily in Brazil, and it contains over half of the world’s remaining rainforest area. It is also the most species-diverse rainforest in the world. Some of its brightest inhabitants include the blue poison dark frog and the rainbow-colored scarlet macaw.
2. The Black Forest
- Location: Southwestern Germany
- Size: 2,300 square miles
- Age: Likely about 10,000 years old
- Animal species: Includes the Western capercaillie, cuckoos, and fallow deer.
- Colorful feature: The name “Black Forest” may not sound too colorful, but the mostly-coniferous Black Forest is home to bright lakes and the occasional clear stretch of rolling pasture. In winter, it is often blanketed in sparkling white snow.
The dense, dark Black Forest was once a source of abundant silver, ore, and wood. It still plays an important economic role in Germany. It often hosts festivals and other events celebrating the heritage of the area. And even if you can’t visit this remarkable region, you can get a small sense of it through Black Forest ham, Black Forest cake, and even cuckoo clocks!
3. Allegheny National Forest
- Location: Northwestern Pennsylvania, United States
- Size: 801.8 square miles
- Age: Established in 1923
- Animal species: Includes bobcats, red foxes, timber rattlesnakes, elk, and snowshoe hares.
- Colorful feature: Though it isn’t a tropical rainforest, the Allegheny National Forest has its own incredible color. In autumn, its trees become a swirl of fiery color!
The Allegheny National Forest isn’t quite as species-diverse as it once was. But it’s still home to black cherry trees, maple trees, and a variety of other hardwoods. Today, the forest is a great destination for hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing.
4. The San Isabel National Forest
- Location: Central Colorado, United States
- Size: 1,750 square miles
- Age: Established in 1902
- Animal species: Includes black bears, mountain lions, elk, and bighorn sheep.
- Colorful feature: The San Isabel National Forest is full of breathtaking mountain views and a whole host of wildlife. But as you can see in the picture, the most colorful feature here just might be the stunning golden aspen trees in autumn.
This beautiful landscape is one of 11 national forests in Colorado! It’s a great forest to visit if you’re interested in climbing or viewing the mountains. The San Isabel National Forest includes the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, Collegiate Peaks, and the Sawatch Range. It’s also home to Mount Elbert, the tallest mountain in the Rockies.
5. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
- Location: Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan
- Size: 6.2 square miles
- Age: About 700 years old
- Animal species: Includes giant pandas, mountain gorillas, antbirds, and tiny bats.
- Colorful feature: Many forests are dark and earthy-colored, but the bamboo stalks of this forest give it a pleasant, pale green hue. Plus, its many-colored inhabitants offer intermittent bright bursts.
You might sometimes hear Arashiyama Bamboo Grove called the Sagano Bamboo Forest. And if you don’t know a whole lot about it, you might think that it was a cultivated bamboo grove. However, it’s a naturally-occurring forest. But like many other forests, it has had walking trails added so that visitors can enjoy its beauty.
6. Daintree Rainforest
- Location: Queensland, Australia
- Size: 460 square miles
- Age: About 180 million years old
- Animal species: Includes cassowaries, pied monarchs, golden bowerbirds, and Bennett’s tree-kangaroos.
- Colorful feature: The Daintree Rainforest is a cornucopia of natural color. The bright forests are full of beautiful wildlife. Nearby, there are white sandy beaches and coral reefs. It’s a combination you don’t see too often!
The ancient Daintree Rainforest is significantly older than the Amazon rainforest. And for those who like to explore all nature has to offer, it is a fascinating place to visit. You can dive in the coral reefs, climb mountains, or hike along the forest’s many walking paths. And due to the rainforest’s age, it also serves as a kind of historical record, preserving many of the world’s stages of evolution.
7. Jiuzhaigou Valley
- Location: Sichuan, China
- Size: 280 square miles
- Age: Established in 1978
- Animal species: Includes golden snub-nosed monkeys, giant pandas, Duke of Bedford’s vole, and white-lip deer.
- Colorful feature: This beautiful park is home to colorful, blossoming trees, but its most colorful attraction by far is Five Flower Lake. This is a multicolored clear lake whose colors come from a mix of algae, aquatic plants, and travertine deposits.
This lovely wooded valley is an exquisitely beautiful escape for anyone who appreciates nature. Its bright and often multicolored lakes and ponds are complemented nicely by the beautiful fall foliage the park enjoys every year. The park is technically made up of three separate valleys spread over nearly 300 square miles, so there is plenty to explore.
8. Tongass National Forest
- Location: Alaska, United States
- Size: 26,100 square miles
- Age: Established in 1907
- Animal species: Includes brown bears, black bears, salmon, bald eagles, and orcas.
- Colorful feature: Though many parts of the park are often icy, Tongass National Forest has some breathtaking waterfalls surrounded by bright green foliage. In summer, it also is full of bright wildflowers that blanket the ground beneath snow-capped mountains.
The Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States. And while many of us think of snow and ice when we picture Alaska, much of this forest is classified as temperate rainforest. This massive forest has roughly one million visitors per year, and it offers ample recreation opportunities as well as a chance to see and enjoy unspoiled nature.
9. Virgin Komi Forests
- Location: Komi Republic, Russia
- Size: 10,215 square miles
- Age: Established as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995
- Animal species: Includes reindeer, wolverines, moose, lynx, beavers, otters, and bears.
- Colorful feature: These vast forests are full of bright evergreens and deciduous trees, cheerful wildflowers, and glittering streams. You also can see the tall, snow-capped Ural Mountains.
Though these beautiful forests are fairly well-preserved, they do face some threats. One of the biggest threats is gold mining, as gold can be found in some places in the forest. Some companies also attempt to illegally cut down trees for lumber. This is the largest old-growth forest in Europe, so it gives visitors the opportunity to see an ecosystem that has been relatively undisturbed for quite some time.
10. Gondwana Rainforest
- Location: Queensland and New South Wales, Australia
- Size: 1,400 square miles
- Age: Uncertain; Designated World Heritage Site in 1994
- Animal species: Includes pink-tongued lizard, friendly sun skink, fallow deer, and little red flying foxes.
- Colorful feature: This collection of rainforests is full of dazzling color. From bright birds to exotic-looking flowers to magnificent waterfalls, it’s an otherworldly place to visit!
The Gondwana Rainforests are a collection of fifty different rainforest reserves. Together, they make up the biggest area of subtropical rainforests in the world. And though the rainforests seem very extensive now, they were much more so in the past. Due to extensive logging in the past, only about 1% of the original Gondwana rainforests remain today.
11. Avenue of the Baobabs
- Location: Menabe, Madagascar
- Size: Avenue is about 850 feet long
- Age: Uncertain
- Animal species: Includes Madame Berthe’s lemurs, fossas, giant jumping rats, and votsotsa.
- Colorful feature: These pillar-like trees offer a burst of green foliage against the blue skies of Madagascar. When they bloom, they offer splendid white flowers. But the most beautiful color in this baobab grove shows up at sunrise and sunset. The trees are large enough that they form deep black silhouettes against the magnificent sky.
Baobab trees look like something out of a cartoon. Their odd-looking smooth trunks come from their ability to hold extensive amounts of water. Some species of baobab are as much as 76% water, so they can easily hold enough to get through periods of drought. The Avenue of the Baobabs might be more correctly described as a grove as opposed to a forest, but this remarkable collection of trees is important enough to now be a protected area.
12. Olympic National Park
- Location: Olympic Peninsula, Washington, United States
- Size: 1,442 square miles
- Age: Established in 1938
- Animal species: Includes elk, bald eagles, gray whales, and mountain goats.
- Colorful feature: This stunning forest is a sea of deep green beneath the rocky blue-gray of the mountains. As you can see in the picture, the mountains are often patterned with snow. And of course, animals and wildflowers offer pleasant bursts of color!
Like some other forests and parks on the list, Olympic National Park has a few different regions. A portion is on the Pacific coast, and there’s a beautiful alpine region. The park actually has two separate forested areas: the eastern part has dry forests and the western side is mostly temperate rainforest. Many people look forward to seeing mountain goats when they visit, but these creatures aren’t actually native to the park. They may have been brought to the park for hunting purposes in the 1920s, but park officials have been gradually trying to remove them.
13. Crooked Forest
- Location: West Pomerania, Poland
- Size: About 0.009 square miles
- Age: About 90 years old
- Animal species: Includes European wolves, roe deer, European bison, white storks, and white-tailed eagles.
- Colorful feature: This section of Polish forest isn’t quite as dense as some other forests on the list, but as you can see from the photo, there’s enough space to allow for rich sunlight and bright green grass.
This strange forest is made up of oddly curved pine trees, although surrounding trees are straight. The curved trees all reach north, almost parallel to the ground, before reaching back upward. Nobody knows exactly why the trees curve this way, but it’s most likely due to human intervention. They may have been shaped this way to produce curved wood for the building of boats.
14. Flooded Forest
- Location: Caddo Lake, Texas and Louisiana, United States
- Size: About 40 square miles
- Age: Uncertain
- Animal species: Includes bobcats, alligators, river otters, and bald eagles.
- Colorful feature: The strange flooded forest of Caddo Lake may not be the most colorful on the list, but the mirror-like surface of the lake reflects the light back up through the trees. And as you can see from the picture, many of the trees appear to be shrouded.
This strangely beautiful lake sits on the border between Texas and Louisiana. And while it is now being preserved and managed, it is threatened by giant Salvinia, an aquatic fern that can double its size in a few days. The fern kills other aquatic life, so conservationists are evaluating ways to completely eradicate it.
15. Quiver Tree Forest
- Location: Keetmanshoop, Namibia
- Size: Uncertain; includes about 250 trees
- Age: Declared a national monument in 1995
- Animal species: The most common animal found here is the rock hyrax (commonly referred to as a “dassie”).
- Colorful feature: The strange-looking quiver trees burst with color when they bloom; their root-like branches sprout bright yellow flowers.
The Quiver Tree Forest looks a little like something out of a video game or sci-fi movie. The trees themselves have a somewhat alien-like appearance, and the scattered dolerite rocks around them create quite an unusual landscape. Interestingly enough, the quiver gets its name from the fact that native peoples have historically used its branches to make arrows.
16. Oma Forest
- Location: Basque Country, Spain
- Size: Uncertain (only some trees are painted)
- Age: About 40 years old
- Animal species: Includes European storm petrels, pottok ponies, deer, and wild boar.
- Colorful feature: This unique forest is a kind of modern art installation. Several of the trees in Basque Country forest were painted by artist Agustin Ibarrola to serve as an illustration of the connection between the modern world and the natural world. Many of the trees are painted with bright colors and geometric designs.
If you ever find yourself in the Valley of Oma in Basque Country, this beautiful and strange painted forest is worth a visit. While some individual trees are painted like totem poles, other designs are painted across multiple trees. The result is a picture that seems to move as you walk through the forest.
17. Humboldt Redwoods State Park
- Location: Northern California, United States
- Size: About 81 square miles
- Age: Established in 1921
- Animal species: Includes mule deer, gray foxes, California ground squirrels, and raccoons.
- Colorful feature: This forest is filled with giant, old-growth redwood trees. Their massive red trunks create a beautiful contrast with the ferns and other plants on the forest floor. Throughout the day, the forest is patterned with shifting light and shadow.
If you want to see some of the most massive trees in the world, this surreal forest is a great place to go. Humboldt Redwoods State Park contains Rockefeller Forest, the largest continual old-growth forest of coastal redwood trees. When the park was founded in 1921, much of the land had been purchased from lumber companies by the Save the Redwoods League, a nonprofit organization that is still operating today.
18. Wistmann’s Wood
- Location: Dartmoor, Devon, England
- Size: About 0.013 square miles
- Age: Likely formed around 7000 BC
- Animal species: Includes European vipers, Dartmoor ponies, cuckoos, otters, and marsh fritillary butterflies.
- Colorful feature: Wistmann’s Wood looks like something out of a fairy tale. It is a collection of old gnarled oak trees surrounded by mossy, lichen-covered rocks. The rugged terrain surrounding the trees is home to a variety of richly-colored wild creatures.
This smallish forest is most likely the remainder of an ancient forest. Its beauty has inspired countless poets and artists for centuries. Its name is also likely a reference to its magical quality; the word “wisht” means eerie, haunted, or “pixie-led.” In 1964, the wood was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
19. Mount Hood National Forest
- Location: Oregon, United States
- Size: 164 square miles
- Age: Established in 1908
- Animal species: Includes cougars, northern spotted owls, elk, buffleheads, and common loons.
- Colorful feature: As you can see in the photo, the exquisite Lost Lake in Mount Hood National Forest reflects some of the beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the area. The view of the snow-capped Mt. Hood is magnificent, and vast areas of evergreen trees stand out against the snow and sky.
This magnificent forest is one of the most popular forests when it comes to visitors. There are ample opportunities for horseback riding, camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, and even collecting mushrooms. And thanks to its challenging mountains, it is also frequently visited by mountain climbers. The mountain the forest is named for, Mt. Hood, is a volcano that may technically be active.
20. Hallerbos Forest
- Location: Halle, Belgium
- Size: 2.125 square miles
- Age: Uncertain
- Animal species: Includes wild hares, roe deer, robins, and blackbirds.
- Colorful feature: Hallerbos Forest is one of the most magical forests on our list. While it is not especially dense, its floor is carpeted by countless bluebells in the spring. The bluebells only last a few weeks each year, but during this time, the forest is an exquisite attraction for countless visitors!
The phenomenon of the flower-covered forest floor is not unique to Hallerbos. However, the flowers on this forest floor are especially dense and colorful. And you can find more than just bluebells; wild daffodils and the starry flowers of wild garlic can also be found here. The forest is full of quaint paths perfect for horseback riding, walking, running, and cycling.
21. Sunken Forest
- Location: Lake Kaindy, Kolsay Lakes National Park, Kazakhstan
- Size: 1,300 feet long
- Age: Formed in 1911
- Animal species: Includes trout, snow leopards, Turkestan lynx, and Tian Shen brown bears.
- Colorful feature: This strange forest is made up of submerged Asian spruce tree trunks. The lake surrounding the trees is bright blue-green thanks to significant deposits of limestone.
This serene lake is marked by the mast-like trunks of Asian spruce trees reaching up through it. But while the bark on the trees has turned white and they have lost many of their side branches, they are very much alive. The limestone deposits in the lake are responsible for its coloring. The lake’s color changes often, but it is usually a bright, jewel-like blue-green. It is believed to have been formed by a limestone landslide that happened in 1911.
22. Broceliande Forest
- Location: Brittany, France
- Size: About 35 square miles
- Age: Uncertain
- Animal species: Includes boar, roe deer, Eurasian pygmy shrews, and rabbits.
- Colorful feature: As you can see in the photo, this forest is home to silvery waterfalls, moss-covered stones, and ancient gnarled trees. The golden statue you see to the right is the Arbre d’Or, a memorial statue commemorating a 1990 forest fire.
This strange and lovely forest has countless connections to Arthurian legend. One of the most commonly visited sites is the Tomb of Merlin, a remnant of an ancient tomb. Though much of it has been destroyed by treasure hunters hundreds of years ago, visitors today will still leave flowers and notes for Merlin.
23. Dixie National Forest
- Location: Utah, United States
- Size: 2,952 square miles
- Age: Established in 1905
- Animal species: Includes blue grouse, horned lizards, prairie dogs, bobcats, and golden eagles.
- Colorful feature: Though it is classified as a forest, Dixie National Forest’s most colorful feature is probably its red rocks. In the picture, you can see its strikingly-colored Red Canyon.
The beautiful Dixie National Forest includes many different types of terrain. Most of its forested areas are at its high and middle elevations. Higher elevations include conifers and aspen, while the middle elevations are made mostly of juniper and pinyon pine. Lower elevations have more typical desert foliage.
24. Tonto National Forest
- Location: Arizona, United States
- Size: 4,489 square miles
- Age: Established in 1905
- Animal species: Includes Mearns coyotes, coyotes, bald eagles, kestrels, javelinas, and ring-tailed cats.
- Colorful feature: This exquisite natural area is full of color. From pale sands and bright desert flowers to red rocks and rugged trees, Tonto National Forest is the perfect place to see miles of unspoiled nature.
Tonto National Forest is one of six national forests in Arizona. And like many of the southwestern national forests, it contains many types of terrain. You can find ponderosa pine forests, parts of the Sonoran Desert, and several different water reservoirs. Its southward boundary reaches the Phoenix metropolitan area, so the forest is fairly convenient to visit even for those who live in nearby urban areas.
25. Shenandoah National Park
- Location: Virginia, United States
- Size: About 311 square miles
- Age: Established in 1935
- Animal species: Includes peregrine falcons, chickadees, black bears, beavers, foxes, and bobcats.
- Colorful feature: Shenandoah National Park includes a portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a range known for their distinctive bluish hue. In autumn, the trees turn fiery colors that you need to see to believe!
The colorful autumn foliage of Shenandoah National Park attracts countless visitors every year. The park also has several programs that celebrate the beauty of the area. One is the Artist-in-Residence Program, established in 2014. The program selects an artist to come stay and create in the park. Park rangers conduct both in-park tours and live broadcasts to help visitors and other curious people learn more about Shenandoah and its flora and fauna.
26. Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
- Location: Scotland
- Size: 720 square miles
- Age: Established in 2002
- Animal species: Includes red deer, Scottish wildcats, golden eagles, ospreys, and red squirrels.
- Colorful feature: This beautiful park’s colorful trees are often reflected in the tranquil surface of Lock Lomond, the freshwater loch you can see in the picture. Its highlands, quaint glens, and loch shores are full of natural color.
Since this park is along Scotland’s Highland Boundary Fault, it has two very distinct regions. The lowland area is mostly made up of green fields, while the highlands are mostly mountains. The park is a popular recreation designation. Its hills and mountains are great for mountain climbing and hiking, while Loch Lomond is especially popular with watersport enthusiasts.
27. San Juan National Forest
- Location: Western Colorado United States
- Size: 2,936 square miles
- Age: Established in 1905
- Animal species: Includes mule deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and whiptail lizards.
- Colorful feature: As you can see in the photo, the most colorful feature in this magnificent forest is probably the golden aspen trees. In the fall, they turn an intense and breathtaking shade of yellow.
This large and remarkable national forest was first created by Theodore Roosevelt in 1905. The forest contains Chimney Rock, a famous landmark that was used on the Oregon Trail. In 2012, Barack Obama declared this part of the park to be a national monument. Though much of the land is undisturbed, it is crossed by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
28. Yasuni National Park
- Location: Napo and Pastaza, Ecuador
- Size: 3,793 square miles
- Age: Established in 1979
- Animal species: Includes white-banded swallows, Napo sakis, a treefrog species called Osteocephalus yasuni, pygmy marmosets, many caiman species, and brown woolly monkeys.
- Colorful feature: This beautiful park’s most colorful feature is its incredible variety of animal species. It makes up just 0.15% of the Amazon Basin, but it’s home to a full third of all reptile and amphibian species found there!
In 1989, this extraordinarily biodiverse park was named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Though the park is home to the Yasuni Research Station and receives many visitors, it is also home to two indigenous tribes that have not been contacted by the outside world. Tribal members use the park’s many waterways as a primary means of transportation.
29. Kinabalu National Park
- Location: Sabah, Malaysia
- Size: 291 square miles
- Age: Established in 1964
- Animal species: Includes crested dragons, orb web spiders, mountain squirrels, and Kinabalu giant earthworms.
- Colorful feature: This picturesque park has incredible mountain views. Some of the summits include bright flowers, and many reach the clouds (as you can see in the picture). And since this park includes four separate climate zones, you can find nearly endless varieties of flora and fauna.
Like many other parts of Malaysia, Kinabalu National Park is home to a vast array of animals. But this park is also famous for its huge variety of carnivorous plants! The most famous one is probably Nepenthes rajah, a carnivorous pitcher plant. Kinabalu National Park was one of the first national parks to be designated in Malaysia, and it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Mount Kinabalu, the mountain the park is named for, is the highest point on the island of Borneo.
30. Goblin’s Forest
- Location: Mount Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand
- Size: Uncertain; this is a portion of the woods near Mount Taranaki
- Age: Forest reserve established in 1881
- Animal species: Includes kiwis, blue ducks, giant kokopu, goats, and giant Powelliphanta land snails.
- Colorful feature: The strange Goblin’s Forest is overwhelmingly green. Its old, gnarled trees have twisting branches that are covered in moss, vines, and ferns. The result is a somewhat muted color palette that still manages to be fascinating!
The name “Goblin’s Forest” refers to a patch of the wilderness at the foot of New Zealand’s famed Mount Taranaki; simply follow a quaint walking path to see it. If you wish, you can also climb to the summit of the mountain or enjoy some of the many recreational activities that the surrounding Egmont National Park has to offer.
31. Tsingy Forest
- Location: Melaky, Madagascar
- Size: Total park area is 59 square miles
- Age: Uncertain
- Animal species: Includes Antsingy leaf chameleons, lemurs, western falanoucs, and the ring-tailed mongoose.
- Colorful feature: Parts of this park are sometimes called a “stone forest,” as they are vertically eroded limestone plateaus. The result is what looks like a forest of tall, pale grey stones interspersed with trees and other greenery.
What is sometimes called the Tsingy Forest is part of Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. The word “tsingy” translates to “where you cannot walk barefoot.” It’s easy to see why! The park’s two highlights are the two stone forests. Each originated as a plateau of limestone. Over time, erosion happened both vertically and horizontally. Now, each “forest” looks like a collection of jagged limestone trunks or needles.
32. Białowieża Forest
- Location: Parts of Belarus and Poland
- Size: 1,191.4 square miles
- Age: Established in 1932
- Animal species: Includes European bison, pygmy owls, great crested newts, and European fire-bellied toads.
- Colorful feature: As part of Europe’s once-vast primeval forests, Białowieża Forest is home to a host of color. Thanks to mossy and vine-covered trees and rocks, much of it is overwhelmingly green. But look closely, and the bright feathers of rare birds or the exciting patterns of resident amphibians will surely catch your eye!
This large forest is named for the thriving village within it. But it’s probably best known for its nature. Plenty of visitors come in hopes of seeing European bison (the largest land mammals in Europe) in their natural habitat. Since the forest is a refuge for birds, it is a perfect birdwatching spot, too.
33. The Sea of Trees
- Location: Mount Fuji, Honshu, Japan
- Size: 14 square miles
- Age: Uncertain
- Animal species: Includes foxes, wild rabbits, Japanese mink, Eurasian jays, and black-faced buntings.
- Colorful feature: This dense forest is especially green, but its diverse fauna offer glimpses of bold color, too. Cuckoos, jays, turtle doves, bears, and other animals can all be found.
This beautiful forest is also known as Aokigahara, a name that translates to “Blue Tree Meadow.” It sits on a patch of hardened lava on the side of Mount Fuji. In Japanese mythology, this forest is sometimes associated with ghosts of the dead. It has come to be associated with suicide and is even nicknamed “the Suicide Forest” in some English-speaking countries. Interestingly enough, the hardened lava floor of the forest can absorb sound, which gives many visitors an eerie sense of solitude.
34. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
- Location: Kanungu District, Uganda
- Size: 128 square miles
- Age: Established in 1991
- Animal species: Includes yellow-backed duikers, forest elephants, mountain gorillas, great blue turacos, black bee-eaters, and African black ducks.
- Colorful feature: The name “Bwindi” means “a place full of darkness.” That likely references the density of the forest. But as you can see from the photo, parts of this forest reserve are bright and incredibly green. And since it is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, you’re sure to see a rainbow of animals, too.
The “impenetrable” part of this forest’s name might catch you by surprise. But if you’ve been there, it makes sense: both dense, vine-filled groundcover and thick stands of bamboo fill the space between trees, making it extremely difficult to find a way in. This is one of the more recently established parks on the list, and it was primarily formed to help preserve populations of the mountain gorilla.
35. Sinharaja Rainforest
- Location: Southern Provinces and Sabaragamuwa, Sri Lanka
- Size: 34.22 square miles
- Age: Established 1978
- Animal species: Includes green pit vipers, orange-billed babblers, Sri Lanka blue magpies, and purple-faced langurs.
- Colorful feature: This rainforest is full of color, and lots of it is color you won’t see anywhere else. Over 60% of the trees here are endemic, meaning they can’t be found anywhere else in the world! A full 95% of its colorful birds are endemic, too.
This extremely diverse Sri Lankan rainforest has been recognized on multiple levels for its incredible wealth of species. It has been designated as both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve. Though it was relatively recently established as a protected area, the forest was protected from logging largely because it was so hard to access.
36. Dragon’s Blood Forest
- Location: Socotra, Yemen
- Size: Uncertain; trees are found across an archipelago
- Age: Formed in prehistoric times
- Animal species: Includes Socotra chameleons, sunbirds, Socotra starlings, and grosbeaks.
- Colorful feature: The forests of dragon’s blood trees can be found only on Yemen’s Socotra archipelago. These unusual-looking trees add a burst of green to the dry terrain. But since many animal species here are endemic, the sparse landscape is dotted with bright and distinctive feathers and scales.
Though the strange-looking dragon’s blood trees are interesting to look at, they have also been extremely economically important for Yemen. The trees produce a distinctive reddish resin that can be made into a dye, often called “dragon’s blood” dye. This dye was part of what gave Stradivarius violins their characteristically intense red color. The resin also can be used in a range of traditional medicines.
37. Petrified Forest National Park
- Location: Northeastern Arizona, United States
- Size: About 346 square miles
- Age: Established in 1906
- Animal species: Includes pronghorns, eastern collared lizards, bobcats, deer mice, and long-nosed leopard lizards.
- Colorful feature: This unique forest is full of the remains of petrified wood, meaning that ancient trees have been replaced by stone. As a result, the tree fragments often have many different colors. Part of the forest also extends into the surreal and multicolored Painted Desert. And as you can see from the photo, the landscape is often graced by bright animals like the eastern collared lizard!
Petrified Forest National Park is one of the stranger forests on the list. It is full of ancient downed trees, many of which came from the Triassic period. These trees have been gradually filled with various mineral deposits, so they look like logs but are often mostly or entirely stone.
38. Danum Valley Conservation Area
- Location: Sabah, Malaysia
- Size: 169 square miles
- Age: Established in 1980
- Animal species: Includes clouded leopards, Bornean orangutans, mousedeer, Asian water monitors, and gibbons.
- Colorful feature: Jungles are known for their worlds of color, and the Danum Valley Conservation Area is no exception! It is full of colorful animals (like the stunning clouded leopard), and its bright greenery is sometimes shrouded in mist at sunrise.
This beautiful preserve is arguably one of the least-disturbed protected areas in the world. Prior to reaching protected status, it was not subjected to logging or human settlement. As a result, its rainforests are virtually untouched and offer visitors a view of an ancient and spectacular ecosystem.
39. Pacific Rim National Park
- Location: Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
- Size: 197 square miles
- Age: Established in 1970
- Animal species: Includes Vancouver Island wolves, ochre sea stars, and humpback whales.
- Colorful feature: This stunning park is full of lush greenery, white-capped ocean waves, sandy beaches, and mist-cloaked mountains. It’s spotted with striking animals, including the white Vancouver Island wolf.
Like many large parks on the list, Pacific Rim National Park has a few separate areas to explore. There is Long Beach on the west side of Vancouver Island and the picturesque Broken Group of islands. There is also the West Coast Trail, a 47-mile backpacking trail.
40. El Yunque National Forest
- Location: Northeastern Puerto Rico
- Size: 43.8 square miles
- Age: Established in 1903
- Animal species: Includes Puerto Rican parrots, Elfin woods warblers, peregrine falcons, coqui, and Puerto Rican giant anoles.
- Colorful feature: As a true tropical rainforest, this stunning forest is full of unique and beautiful animals. And as you can see from the picture, its system of accessible paths makes it possible for visitors to see the vast collection of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and more.
This forest used to be called the Caribbean National Forest. Interestingly enough, this is the only tropical rainforest in the United States system of national forests. Thanks to the ample rainfall in the area, the forest is full of waterfalls, streams, and rivers.
41. White Mountain National Forest
- Location: Maine and New Hampshire, United States
- Size: 1,173 square miles
- Age: Established in 1918
- Animal species: Includes white-tailed deer, moose, bald eagles, black bears, and foxes.
- Colorful feature: White Mountain National Forest is another prime destination for viewing autumn leaves. Tree species found here include aspen, various types of maple, bristlecone pines, and Engelmann spruce.
This beautiful northern forest includes more than 100 miles of the iconic Appalachian Trail. It is one of the most often-visited natural areas east of the Mississippi River. Part of that is thanks to its collection of 23 campgrounds, hiking trails, and many areas suitable for skiing.
42. Shoshone National Forest
- Location: Wyoming, United States
- Size: 3,855 square miles
- Age: Established in 1891
- Animal species: Includes grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, moose, cougars, peregrine falcons, Harlequin ducks, and Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
- Colorful feature: This beautiful national forest is full of tall mountains, plentiful evergreen trees, and a variety of colorful animals. And as you can see form the photo, colorful wildflowers are a common sight as well!
Shoshone National Forest is one of the most established national forests on the list. It’s also part of a massive protected area called the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This is an area of almost uninterrupted protected lands that cover an area of over 31,000 square miles. The forest is full of recreational activities, but rough terrain and bears mean that parts of it aren’t for the faint of heart!
43. Gallatin National Forest
- Location: South-central Montana, United States
- Size: 2,843 square miles
- Age: Established 1889
- Animal species: Includes golden eagles, mountain goats, pine martens, elk, and mountain lions.
- Colorful feature: As you can see from the photo, Gallatin National Forest looks truly spectacular under a blanket of snow! But it is colorful in all seasons; autumn brings golden aspen foliage, and spring and summer come with green rolling hills at the feet of snow-capped mountains.
Gallatin National Forest offers plenty to see. In fact, it includes six different mountain ranges! It also includes 4,000 miles of rivers and streams. There are also more than 2,300 miles of hiking trails, so it’s the perfect destination for those who like to explore.
- Location: Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia
- Size: Uncertain
- Age: Likely about 900 years old
- Animal species: Includes ostrich, gemsbok, and different antelope species.
- Colorful feature: Deadvlei is another of the non-traditional forests on our list. Situated in a “pan” of white clay soil, it is surrounded with red sand dunes and dotted with the skeleton-like remains of dead camel thorn trees.
Deadvlei looks a little like a surrealist painting. Its dead camel thorn trees might remind you a bit of the Petrified Forest. But these trees aren’t petrified. While they are dead, they cannot decompose thanks to the extremely arid climate.
45. Valdivian Rainforest
- Location: Western coasts of Argentina and Chile
- Size: 95,800 square miles
- Age: Uncertain
- Animal species: Includes pudus, hummingbirds, kodkods, and wild boar.
- Colorful feature: As you can see from the picture, this temperate rainforest is one where some leaves change color with the seasons. Add on bright green foliage and sparkling streams, and you get a rainforest of memorable beauty.
These interesting rainforests are characterized by a huge variety of flora. Deciduous trees and evergreens thrive. The forest floor is extremely dense, primarily due to the presence of both ferns and bamboo. In some more open areas, you can find scattered wildflowers as well.
46. Sequoia National Forest
- Location: Southern California, United States
- Size: 1,865 square miles
- Age: Established in 1908
- Animal species: Includes California quail, lesser goldfinches, western whiptail lizards, and gopher snakes.
- Colorful feature: This forest’s 38 separate groves of giant sequoia trees add a burst of green and earthy red-brown to the surroundings. The rolling foothills and the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains are covered with a range of green plants and colorful animal life, too.
While the massive sequoia trees here are certainly an attraction, Sequoia National Forest has a few other notable landmarks worth seeing. The Needles, a collection of granite monoliths, are a famous site. The geography itself is remarkable, too, as parts of the forest landscape have been carved by glaciers.
47. Lacandon Jungle
- Location: From Chiapas, Mexico to Guatemala
- Size: About 17 square miles
- Age: Uncertain
- Animal species: Includes howler monkeys, swamp crocodiles, jaguars, red macaws, and tapirs.
- Colorful feature: This jungle is full of colorful animals including especially bright birds. Many of its bodies of water are also colored in memorable ways. For instance, the Laguna Miramar is an intense jewel blue with white-blue edges when viewed from above.
The Lacandon Jungle is part of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve. Even though it has been subjected to rainforest clearing, it remains one of the largest mountain rainforests in Mexico.
48. Valle de Cocora
- Location: Quindío, Colombia
- Size: Part of Los Nevados National Park; total area of 224 square miles
- Age: Established in 1985
- Animal species: Includes hummingbirds, Andean bears, yellow-eared parrots, and black-billed mountain toucans.
- Colorful feature: This valley is not as dense as many forests. But its rolling green landscape is dotted with strange-looking wax palms. These tall trees have slender, branchless trunks that lead to windmill-like leaves at the top.
Also called Cocora Valley, this beautiful spot nestled in the Andes is a fantastic place to go and explore. The park became a protected area largely to preserve the wax palm trees, long considered to be a national symbol of Colombia.
49. Otzarreta Forest
- Location: Vizcaya and Alava, Basque Country, Spain
- Size: Part of Parque Natural de Gorbeia; total area 77 square miles
- Age: Established in 1994
- Animal species: Includes fire salamanders, Iberian spiny toads, long-eared owls, Iberian frogs, and goshawks.
- Colorful feature: This striking forest is one of several mysterious-looking woodlands on the list. As you can see from the photo, its leaves change color and blanket the forest floor in fall. Its mossy trees and rocks add a burst of bright green to the often-misty air.
This picturesque forest of beech trees also contains the central focus of Parque Natural de Gorbeia: Mount Gorbeia, a mountain with an elevation of 1,482 meters. The mountain’s summit is marked by an impressively-sized metal cross sculpture.
50. Lost Maples State Natural Area
- Location: South-central Texas, United States
- Size: 4.5 square miles
- Age: Established in 1979
- Animal species: Includes axis deer, Texas brown tarantulas, feral pigs, ringtails, armadillos, and wild turkeys.
- Colorful feature: Though this natural area includes many types of terrain, its maple trees and their bright fall colors are one of the primary attractions!
The “lost maples” in the name of this natural area is in reference to a grove of rare Uvalde big-toothed maple trees. These old trees may be prehistoric, and their autumn colors are especially beautiful.
51. Okanogan National Forest
- Location: North-central Washington, United States
- Size: 2,342 square miles
- Age: Established 1911
- Animal species: Includes Kokanee salmon, moose, mule deer, and wolves.
- Colorful feature: One of the most colorful features of this beautiful forest is its collection of lakes. Many lakes, including the pictured Lake Lewis, are rich blue or turquoise in color. That makes them look especially striking against the dark evergreen forests.
This jewel of the Pacific Northwest offers sweeping views of incredible scenery. One of the best views in the park is Goat Peak. Toward the mountain’s summit, you can see the nearby Methow Valley, the distinctively jagged Silver Star Mountain, and parts of the massive Cascade Range.
52. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
- Location: Alajuela and Puntarenas, Costa Rica
- Size: 41 square miles
- Age: Founded in 1972
- Animal species: Includes golden toads, swallow-tailed kites, resplendent quetzals, and tapirs.
- Colorful feature: This magical-looking rainforest is a cloud forest, meaning that much of its bright green foliage is shrouded in cloud cover. It is also dotted with very colorful animals, including the magnificently-colored resplendent quetzal.
This immensely scenic forest has plenty of opportunities to allow visitors to experience its beauty. There is bus service, a small lodge, butterfly garden, bat jungle, house of snakes, hiking trails, and even ziplines! Numerous suspension bridges offer opportunities to look down into the forest valleys and out over miles of rainforest.
Nature’s Most Colorful Forests
Hopefully, you can see now that the forests near you just might be bursting with more color than you initially realized. Whether you travel to see far-away forests or just go for a hike in your local park, you’re sure to notice some truly spectacular colors.