If you’re looking for something a little different in terms of your next nature destination, why not check out one of the stunning and distinctive trees or forests on this list? From soaring redwoods to Axel Erlandson’s art trees, these landscapes will amaze and inspire. So pack your camping gear and put one of these unique destinations at the top of your travel list.
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1. Redwoods, California
The majestic Redwoods of California are a must-see for any nature lover. These trees can grow up to 379 feet tall, and their bark is resistant to fire. While the Redwoods are awe-inspiring, the area around them is also beautiful, with lush vegetation and wildlife. If you’re looking for an unforgettable natural experience, be sure to visit the Redwoods.
2. Ta Prohm, Cambodia
Have you ever seen a movie set in ancient times and wondered what it would be like to explore the ruins? Ta Prohm in Cambodia is the real-life version of those ruins, and it’s just as amazing as you’d imagine. This temple has been left largely untouched since it was abandoned in the 15th century, so you can wander through the overgrown jungle and get a feel for what it was like to live during that time. With its towering stone pillars and hidden chambers, Ta Prohm is definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in history or archaeology.
3. Great Basin Bristlecone Pines, California, Utah, Nevada
The Great Basin Bristlecone Pines are some of the oldest living organisms on earth. These trees can be found in California, Utah, and Nevada and can live for up to 5,000 years. The oldest known tree is a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine in eastern California. This amazing tree is over 5,000 years old. If you’re ever in the area, visit one of these ancient trees and learn more about their history.
4. Blue jacaranda, South America
If you’re ever in South America and the weather’s just right—sunny but not too hot, with a light breeze—take a walk through a park or down a street lined with jacarandas in bloom. Though not native to the continent, the trees are ubiquitous there, providing shade and putting on an impressive show of blue flowers.
5. Ponderosa pines, Utah
The ponderosa pine is one of the most majestic trees in the American Southwest. Towering over everything else, these giants can reach heights of up to 200 feet. Their distinctive bark is a deep red-brown, and their needles are long and green. They thrive in Utah's dry, rocky soil and make an impressive sight against the bright blue sky.
Ponderosa pines are a vital part of the ecosystem, providing food and shelter for wildlife and creating shady oases in the desert. They are also an important source of timber for lumber companies. If you’re ever in Utah, take the time to admire these beautiful trees.
6. Banyan trees, India
The banyan tree is a species of fig found all over India. They are easily recognizable by their large canopy and unique growth pattern. The branches of a banyan tree start as small stems from the main trunk and then grow outwards and downwards until they touch the ground.
7. Axel Erlandson’s art trees, California
Axel Erlandson was a master of creating art trees. He is most famous for his trees shaped like animals, but he also created trees with other interesting shapes. Erlandson’s art trees can be found all over California, and they are a popular tourist attraction.
8. Joshua trees, American Southwest
The Joshua tree is one of the most iconic symbols of the American Southwest. Towering above the desert landscape, these strange trees are a must-see for anyone visiting this part of the country. With their twisted branches and spiny leaves, they are easily recognizable and provide a stark contrast to the surrounding desert. While they can be found in other parts of the world, they are most abundant in the American Southwest, where they thrive in harsh climates. Whether you’re passing through on a road trip or making a stop specifically to see these trees, make sure to add Joshua trees to your list of things to see in America’s Southwest.
9. Spider trees, Pakistan
Do you know what a spider tree is? Chances are you don’t, but they’re found worldwide and can be quite beautiful. Spider trees are named for their web-like appearance, caused by the thin branches that spread out at angles from the trunk. They can be found in many parts of Pakistan, where they grow in forests, along riverbanks, and other moist areas.
Despite their delicate appearance, spider trees are tough and long-lived; some specimens have been estimated to be more than 500 years old. Their unusual branching pattern also makes them popular as bonsai plants. If you’re ever in Pakistan, make sure to stop and take a look at these unique trees.
10. Buttress roots
When most people think of tree roots, they think of the system of thin threads that extend from the trunk and branches down into the soil. However, not all tree roots grow in this way. Some species have a secondary root system that grows perpendicular to the ground's surface. This secondary root system is called a buttress root. Buttress roots are specially adapted to anchor trees in sandy or loose soils and can also play a role in water uptake and storage.
11. Japanese maples
There is something about Japanese maples that just captures the imagination. Maybe it’s their delicate beauty or how they can add a splash of color to any garden. These trees are worth considering if you’re looking for a new addition to your landscape.
12. Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar
If you’re looking for an incredible natural wonder to add to your bucket list, consider adding the Avenue of the Baobabs in Madagascar. This awe-inspiring trail is home to some of the largest baobab trees in the world, and it’s a must-see for anyone visiting this beautiful country. Located just outside Morondava, this attraction is easily accessible and worth a visit. If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, add the Avenue of the Baobabs to your list.
13. Wisteria tunnels, Japan
What do Wisteria tunnels, Japan, and Instagram filters have in common? A lot of people think they make everything look better. If you’re looking for an unforgettable travel experience that’s also beautiful and photogenic, a trip to Japan to see the famous Wisteria tunnels is a must. The best part? No need for filters!
14. Rainbow eucalyptus, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and the Philippines
The rainbow eucalyptus is one of the most dazzling trees in the world. Native to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and the Philippines, it has a distinctive bark that changes color with the seasons. In winter, the tree’s trunk is light green; in summer, it turns a deep red. The leaves are also rainbow-colored, with shades of yellow, green, and blue. Although these trees can grow up to 100 feet tall, they are often shorter than other species of eucalyptus because their branches tend to droop. If you’re ever in the area and see one of these trees, be sure to take a picture—it’s an amazing sight!
15. Dragon’s blood trees, Socotra Island
Did you know there are trees in the world whose sap is red? No, not like the red sap that flows in our veins—I’m talking about a deep, dark red. These are called dragon blood trees, and they can be found on a small island off the coast of Yemen called Socotra. The trees get their name from the reddish-black resin that oozes from their bark. This resin is used to make dye, varnish, and ink and has been prized by humans for centuries.
16. Bamboo forests, Japan
Bamboo forests can be found worldwide, but some areas are better known for their bamboo forests than others. One such area is Japan, where the bamboo forests are not only picturesque but also play an important role in the culture and history of the country. If you’re looking for a unique and beautiful destination to travel to, consider Japan and its amazing bamboo forests.
17. Angel Oak, South Carolina
The Angel Oak is a historic tree located in Charleston, South Carolina. The gnarled oak tree is estimated to be over 1400 years old, making it one of the oldest trees in the world. The Angel Oak’s limbs stretch out for over 17,000 square feet and provide ample shade for visitors to relax and enjoy the beauty of this natural wonder. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful place to spend some time outdoors or are interested in learning about Southern history and culture, the Angel Oak is worth a visit!
18. Giant sequoias, California
Giant sequoias are some of the most impressive trees in the world. Towering over human height, their reddish bark and massive size is a sight to behold. The General Sherman tree in California is the largest known living individual tree on earth, with a trunk diameter of 27 feet (8.2 meters) and a height of 275 feet (83.8 meters).
19. Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
This tunnel of beech trees in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, was planted in the 18th century to impress those approaching the Georgian mansion, Gracehill House. Today, the Dark Hedges are well-known for being featured in HBO’s Game of Thrones, where they stand in as the Kingsroad, a road with Castle Black in the North at one end and King’s Landing in the South at the other.
20. Dead Vlei trees, Namibia
Dead Vlei trees are a famous sight in Namibia’s Sossusvlei Desert. These trees are believed to be more than 900 years old, but they no longer bear any leaves or branches because of the harsh desert conditions. Despite their barren state, the Dead Vlei trees remain an impressive sight and a popular tourist destination.
21. Cherry blossoms, Japan
From the German city of Bonn to the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to DC’s Tidal Basin, cherry blossoms mark the arrival of spring. The blooming of the cherry blossoms is nothing short of a phenomenon in Japan, with blossom-themed festivals held in many national parks. Similarly, in Washington, DC, people come from all over for the National Cherry Blossom Festival each spring.
These 21 forests and treasured trees are some of the world's most beautiful, awe-inspiring sights. Have you seen them all? Which one is your favorite? Share with us in the comments below.