Pine trees are on many people's minds this time of year. If you love seeing evergreens in their natural environment, there are plenty of places around the country where they thrive year-round. Here are three suggestions of national forests that are known for their captivating conifers and great hiking trails.
Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forest (Rutland, Vermont)
The Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests are technically separate forests, but they share the same administrative headquarters. Together they comprise over 416,000 acres throughout southern Vermont and the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Both of the forests contain large swaths of evergreens, including Balsam fir, white spruce, red spruce, hemlock and white pine. The Forest has over 30 miles of interconnecting trails that take hikers through scenic ravines, pastures and woodlands. It’s great way to explore this ecologically diverse region.
Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park, Colorado)
The harsh mountain climate of Rocky Mountain National Park is perfect for evergreens. Visitors to this unique environment can see many different varieties of evergreens, including the Ponderosa pine (characterized by their large size and open or flattened tops) and Lodgepole pines (which can resemble Ponderosa pines, but tend to be narrower). There are a variety of hiking trails of varying difficulty to use throughout the park.
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (Marblemount, Washington)
Located in Washington State, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest extends more than 140 miles along the Cascade Range from the Canadian border to Mount Rainier National Park. Hike the Evergreen Mountain Trail (located along a section of the forest that was inadvertently burned in the 1960s) to discover wildflowers, northern wildlife (elk, bobcats, brown bears), and, of course, striking evergreens. For more information about hiking Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, contact the Everett Mountaineers.