About a third of the world’s landmass is covered in forest. And in addition to providing important stuff like the oxygen we breathe and habitats for wild animals, they also make for some downright jaw-dropping photographs. From the towering redwoods of California to the cloud forests of Costa Rica, the trees covering our planet can be our most beautiful sites when captured correctly. We took a look at Taxi2airport.com’s study of the 15 most-Instagrammed forests in the world and found some of the best, and most unique, places to photograph them.
15. Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica — 16,004 hashtags
Cloud forests are both exceptionally rare and exceptionally magical, comprising only about one percent of the total forest in the world but providing a misty, dreamy tropical landscape. Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest spans about 35,000 acres, where rickety suspension bridges connect the treetops, and paved paths lead you through giant ficus trees to the sounds of resplendent quetzals. Some of the best pictures you’ll take will be atop the Cerro Plano viewpoint, where you’ll be able to see both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as well as the mountains crossing the country.
14. Great Bear Rainforest, Canada — 25,892 hashtags
As the name might imply, the main photographic draw to this 21-million-acre stretch of rainforest in British Columbia is the Kermode Bear, or spirit bear, a subspecies of black bear that appears completely white. They live almost exclusively in the forest along with grizzlies, Sitka deer, and other black bears but are far from the only thing worth seeing. Along the coast, you can also catch orcas and humpback whales during the right times of year. You’ll also find waterfalls, fjords, and mountain lakes throughout the park, all accessible from the Spirit Bear Lodge in the remote village of Klemtu.
13. Redwood National Park, California, USA — 32,268 hashtags
The massive California Redwoods may not be the easiest trees to fit into a frame, but at least getting to the top photo spots is ridiculously easy. Some of the best pictures in this field of giants are along Highway 101, and if you can find a safe turnout you can get beautiful images without leaving your car. Even the trails within the park are pretty easy, as reaching spots like Stout Grove and Lady Bird Johnson Grove offer short, flat paths. The Damnation Trail will take you through the Redwoods and down to the Pacific Ocean, giving you the chance to work on your coastal photography as well.
12. Boreal Forest/Taiga Biome, Canada — 35,792 hashtags
Boreal forest, as an entity, accounts for nearly 30 percent of the world’s forest cover and is found mostly in northern Canada, Russia, and Scandinavia. Canada’s section runs from the Yukon territory all the way east, through the Northwest Territory and into Newfoundland and Labrador. During summer, you’ll find mild temps and the opportunity to photograph dense evergreen forests and trees with painfully thick bark. But if you can stand the cold, the real magic happens in the winter, when bright whites cover the firs, pines, and spruce trees. Dog sledding expeditions through the snow make perfect winter photos.
11. Cocora Valley, Colombia — 40,351 hashtags
The deep green, mountainous Cocora Valley is dotted with tall, skinny palm trees — more specifically, the Quindio wax palm, the national tree of Colombia. Los Nevados National Natural Park is smack in the center of Colombia’s main coffee region and offers viewpoints throughout the valley that are quintessentially Colombian. The area is typically under tropical rain clouds too, so the dark skies offer a marvelous grayscale against the emerald Andean landscape.
10. Olympic National Forest, Washington, USA — 42,994 hashtags
Olympic National Forest is part of the largest temperate rainforest in the world, a serene world of old-growth trees, waterfalls, and the Cascade Mountains. The forest itself encompasses over 628,000 acres on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, and though hiking to waterfalls like Sol Duc and Marymere make for great photos, don’t sleep on the coastline either. The jagged rock stacks off the shoreline of Rialto Beach near Hole in the Wall are imposing and mysterious at sunset. Almost anywhere in the Quinault Rainforest will have your pictures filled with bright green ferns and moss-covered rocks.
9. Bialowieza Forest, Poland — 50,068 hashtags
Though Europe’s last stretch of primeval forest is home to over 800 European bison, its most-photographed inhabitants have been dead for decades. The deadwood strewn about the forest floor is home to 12,000 species of flora and fauna, and these moss-covered tree carcasses make for striking photography on snowy days. The forest actually stretches through two countries, sitting in both Poland’s Bialowieza National Park and Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park in Belarus. Both are part of the forest’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. Sequoia National Forest, California, USA — 50,164 hashtags
Sequoia National Forest sits within the Giant Sequoia National Monument in Central California, boasting the largest concentration of the world’s biggest trees. General Sherman — the biggest tree in the world — is the star of the show here, though you’ll probably find it impossible to get the whole thing in one picture. But there’s more to photograph here than just massive trees; you might also consider hiking to the top of Morro Rock, where on a clear day you can see out over the entire San Joaquin Valley. Or take a walk and have lunch under Tokopah Falls, which contrast brilliantly against the blue sky on sunny afternoons.
7. Jiuzhaigou Valley, China — 52,774 hashtags
This technicolor wonderland in the Sichuan province of southwestern China, with clear, turquoise waters set against the changing leaves at spots like Mirror Lake and Pearl Beach in the Rize Valley, will make all your followers spit out their coffee, yelling, “Where is THAT?” You’ll also want to capture the beautifully still reflections at Five Color Pool and the river of grass along the Reed Sea. It’s a little like the Everglades if it were surrounded by mountains.
6. Atlantic Forest, Brazil — 52,863 hashtags
When you share a country with the most famous jungle in the world, it’s easy to get overlooked even when you span the entire southeastern coastline. The Atlantic Forest runs from the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul all the way up the coast to Paraiba in the northeastern corner. Over 88 percent of the original forest land has been destroyed by human development since the Portuguese arrived 500 years ago, and because it’s one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, over 1.1 million acres are now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll find eight percent of the world’s plant species here, as well as dozens of extremely rare birds.
5. Mossy Forest, Malaysia — 64,564 hashtags
Though the name isn’t particularly original, it is painstakingly accurate. This high-elevation forest stands atop the highest points in the Cameron Highlands and sits in a constant mist among the clouds. That mist creates the perfect environment for moss-covered everything, from rocks to tree branches to viewpoint pagodas. Artists have even been known to come out and paint the moss different colors for a more surreal experience. While we don’t recommend
that, the forest is pretty easy to visit, with a 500-foot slippery boardwalk that winds throughout.
4. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest/Sagano Bamboo Forest, Japan — 83,321 hashtags
These famous bamboo groves just west of Kyoto are easily accessible from the main street of Arashimaya, just north of the Tenryu-ji Temple. It’ll be hard to get lost here, as only one path cuts through the thick troves of bamboo. It’s a short-but-magical walk that’ll make you feel completely transported just a few minutes from the city’s bustling streets. There’s even a walking tour available, which will lead you to all the places you were inspired by on Instagram.
3. Sherwood Forest, England — 142,011 hashtags
Easily the most Instagrammed forest per square mile, this thick woodland in central England is only a little over 1,000 acres and still lands third on the list. That’s mostly thanks to a certain green-tighted vigilante who tormented the Sheriff of Nottingham, and if you take the short walk to Major Oak, you can find the tree that was allegedly his hideout. Sherwood Forest is particularly magical in the mornings, so try and head out early and catch the eerie mist reflecting the sunlight through the trees.
2. Amazon Rainforest, Brazil — 197,615 hashtags
Though most people associate the Amazon with Brazil, it actually has large swaths running through Peru and Colombia, with small sections in Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, Bolivia, and Venezuela. If you combined all of those locations’ hashtags, it’s very possible this forest would rank on top. While the sights are spectacular, the best things to photograph here are the astounding biodiversity of animals, whether that’s pink dolphins, sloths, parrots, and other rare birds. Though your phone may take stellar pictures, a trip to the Amazon may be the time to invest in DSLR, as zooming in on treetops won’t yield the same quality.
1. Black Forest, Germany — 1,489,943 hashtags
This mountainous forest deep in southwest Germany is choc-full of glorious viewpoints, ideal for both summer and winter photography — and it topped out in hashtag rankings by a huge margin. The top of Feldberg – the highest point in the forest – gives a spectacular panorama of the entire region, and the view down from Hornisgrinde onto the Berghotel in Mummelsee is especially striking when covered in snow. Though you won’t find towering waterfalls here, the vegetation around many of the falls — like Krai Woog Goompen and Geroldsauer — make them equally picturesque.