10 National Forests to Add to Your Bucket List

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National forests and grasslands make up a huge portion of the United States—193 million acres, to be exact. This includes 150,000 miles of hiking trails, 4,400 miles of rivers and over 5,000 different campgrounds, many of which offer hook-ups and dump stations.

So, if you’re interested in planning a week-long camping trip or simply looking to spend the day out in nature, we’ve got a national forest for you. From stunning mountain ranges outside of Los Angeles to pristine natural springs near Orlando, here are a few of our favorite national forests hidden gems.

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Ocala National Forest is located in central Florida, directly west of the city of Ocala. It’s nestled between well-known theme parks and sandy beaches, and just a few hours drive from Orlando, Jacksonville and Tampa. Ocala features more than 600 lakes and rivers, where visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, snorkeling, canoeing, and boating. From migratory birds and playful manatees to delicate freshwater springs and some of the world's rarest plants, Ocala is a haven where people (and pets!) can escape to one of Florida's last remaining wild places.

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There is plenty to do and see at Ocala, including mountain biking, fishing, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, hunting, ATVing, water skiing, and scuba diving. Be sure to check out Juniper Springs, a pristine and natural pool that maintains a temperature of 72 degrees fahrenheit all year round.


Ocala has 14 developed campgrounds, many of which offer potable water, dump stations and shower facilities. Salt Springs is the largest campground in Ocala, with more than 100 RV campsites, and is the only campground that offers full hook-ups.

Did You Know: Ocala National Forest is also the southernmost and oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River, and it protects the world's largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest.

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Tonto National Forest is massive, with over 2.9 million acres of wilderness. Its boundaries include Phoenix to the south, the Mogollon Rim to the north, and the San Carlos and Fort Apache Indian reservations to the east. Due to its expansive size, the altitude across Tonto National Forest can range from 1,300 feet to nearly 8,000 feet, offering outstanding recreational opportunities throughout the year.

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Whether you’re looking to relax along one of the lakeside beaches or hike through the cool pine forests, there is a wide range of outdoor activities to enjoy, including rock climbing, mountain biking, day hiking, and tubing. Tonto is also home to the Apache Trail Scenic Byway and the longest two-lane inverted arch suspension bridge in America.


There are a variety of RV campgrounds to choose from inside Tonto National Forest. And while campground amenities range from location to location, there are a few places that offer full hook-ups. Cholla Campground is a particularly popular spot among RVers. With more than 200 campsites and a location right along Roosevelt Lake, RVers can enjoy amenities like boat access, dump stations, potable water, and hot showers. Plus, it’s one of the largest solar-powered campgrounds in the United States.

Did You Know: As the ninth largest national forest in the United States, Tonto is also one of the most-visited, with approximately three million visitors every year.

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Angeles National Forest is often referred to as Los Angeles’ backyard playground. Located less than 20 miles from the major metropolitan city, Angeles National Forest includes over 700,000 acres of rugged terrain, spectacular views, and numerous hiking and biking trails. In 2014, the San Gabriel Mountains—which lie mostly within the national forest—were officially declared a national monument, making this a national forest and monument all-in-one.

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In addition to hiking, camping and swimming, Angeles National Forest is a major destination for motor enthusiasts. In fact, there are over 270 miles of trails designated specifically for off highway vehicles (OHVs). There is also plenty of wildlife to be seen here, including black bears, gray foxes, bobcats, mountain lions, mule deer, and bighorn sheep.


There are plenty of developed campgrounds and picnic areas throughout Angeles National Forest, including some group campgrounds that can accommodate up to 300 people. Los Alamos Campground is a very popular RV spot, and offers visitors easy access to nearby Pyramid Lake. And while the campground doesn’t offer any hook-ups, it does have picnic tables, fire rings, flush toilets, potable water, and a dump station.

Did You Know: You might recognize Angeles National Forests thanks to its appearance in major movies like The Fugitive, Star Trek: First Contact and Mission Impossible 2.

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Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is located on the west side of the Cascades between the Canadian border and Mount Rainier National Park. With over 1.7 million acres of land—nearly half of which are designated wilderness areas—Mount Baker-Snoqualmie is home to scenic mountains, towering old growth forests, and more glaciers and snow fields than any other national forest outside of Alaska.

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A big draw for many visitors is Mount Baker’s unbelievable hiking—there are more than 1,500 miles of trails, including portions of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. In addition to hiking, you can also enjoy rock climbing, hunting, fishing, bird watching, and berry picking. And in the winter, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is ideal for skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing.


There are more than 40 different campgrounds in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Douglas Fir Campground is conveniently located along the Mount Baker Highway, which is probably why it’s so popular among RVers.

Did You Know: 19 federally recognized Indigenous American Tribes still utilize areas of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest that were once inhabited or used by their ancestors.

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Pisgah National Forest is located in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, less than 10 minutes outside of downtown Asheville. It is home to over 500,00 acres of hardwood forests, whitewater rivers and waterfalls. Due to its unique location, Pisgah has some of the highest mountain peaks in the eastern United States, with elevations reaching over 6,000 feet. Be sure to check out Sliding Rock, a 60-foot, all-natural water slide in the heart of the forest.

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Guided Tours

Use the GuideAlong app to have a personal audio tour of the location you're visiting! All commentary plays automatically through your speakers as you drive, and is based on your GPS location. You'll hear the best stories and tips about the location you're traveling through so that you can make the most out of your trip!

Blue Ridge Parkway Guided Tour


Pisgah National Forest is most known for its hiking, backpacking, fishing, rock climbing, and mountain biking. There’s also the Pisgah Loop Scenic Byway, a beautiful 47-mile loop that offers motorists a chance to see rare virgin woodland forests.


The two most popular areas for RV camping are the Appalachian Ranger District and the Grandfather Ranger District. Black Mountain Campground, which is located in the Appalachian Ranger District, has mostly primitive campsites but there are three sites with electrical hook-ups.

Did You Know: Pisgah National Forest was established in 1916 as one of the first national forests in the eastern United States.

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Cherokee National Forest spans over 650,000 acres across the eastern region of Tennessee, bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the west and Pisgah National Forest to the east. Its diverse landscape ranges from rolling hills and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains to picturesque rivers and streams.

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Guided Tours

Use the GuideAlong app to have a personal audio tour of the location you're visiting! All commentary plays automatically through your speakers as you drive, and is based on your GPS location. You'll hear the best stories and tips about the location you're traveling through so that you can make the most out of your trip!

Great Smoky Mountains Guided Tour


Adventure-seekers will find no shortage of outdoor activities in Cherokee National Forest. Options include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing. The forest is also home to more than 600 miles of scenic trails, including a portion of the famous Appalachian Trail. Water enthusiasts can take advantage of the forest's numerous rivers and lakes, perfect for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and rafting.


RV campgrounds in Cherokee National Forest cater to a wide range of camping styles and offer a variety of different amenities. Indian Boundary Recreation Area is a particularly popular spot among RVers. Boasting over 80 campsites near Indian Boundary Lake, visitors can enjoy amenities such as a swimming beach, boat ramp, bathhouses, an on-site dump station, and electrical hook-ups.

Did You Know: Cherokee National Forest is Tennessee's only national forest and is named in honor of the Cherokee people who once inhabited the area.

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Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests encompass over 2.2 million acres across southeastern Wyoming and northern Colorado, stretching from the Wyoming-Colorado border to the edge of the Snowy Range. The forest is split into two distinct sections: the Medicine Bow portion in Wyoming and the Routt portion in Colorado. With elevations ranging from 6,000 feet to over 12,000 feet, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests offer an extremely diverse landscape, from rugged mountain peaks to vast stretches of forest and meadows.

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Guided Tours

Use the GuideAlong app to have a personal audio tour of the location you're visiting! All commentary plays automatically through your speakers as you drive, and is based on your GPS location. You'll hear the best stories and tips about the location you're traveling through so that you can make the most out of your trip!

Rocky Mountain National Park Guided Tour


Visitors can partake in a wide array of outdoor activities, and at all times of the year. Medicine Bow-Routt is home to over 1,600 miles of scenic trails, some of which lead to breathtaking views of the Continental Divide. Winter sports such as skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are also extremely popular, especially in the world-renowned Steamboat Springs Area.


Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests provide numerous opportunities for RV camping, including both developed campgrounds for smaller RVs and dispersed camping areas for larger rigs. A favored spot among campers and RVers is Hahns Peak Lake Campground. It is located on the shore of a small, scenic lake just 30 miles north of Steamboat Springs, and has 23 individual campsites.

Did You Know: The Medicine Bow National Forest was originally created as a forest reserve in 1902.




White Mountain National Forest, sprawling across more than 750,000 acres, is situated in the northeastern United States, primarily within New Hampshire and extending into Maine. The forest features the stunning White Mountains, a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, which include more than 40 peaks exceeding 4,000 feet in elevation. Millions of visitors come to White Mountain National Forest every year to explore both its natural beauty and rich history.

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Guided Tours

Use the GuideAlong app to have a personal audio tour of the location you're visiting! All commentary plays automatically through your speakers as you drive, and is based on your GPS location. You'll hear the best stories and tips about the location you're traveling through so that you can make the most out of your trip!

Kancamagus Guided Tour


Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in White Mountain National Forest—there are over 1,200 miles of picturesque trails, including a segment of the renowned Appalachian Trail. In the summer, you’ll find people swimming, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. And in the winter, visitors can enjoy plenty of skiing, sledding and snowshoeing.


White Mountain National Forest has a variety of RV campgrounds, including some that stay open year-round. Dolly Copp Campground is a particularly sought-after location among RVers. With over 170 campsites nestled in the heart of the forest, visitors can benefit from amenities such as potable water, restrooms and hiking trail access.

Did You Know: White Mountain National Forest is home to Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States, which is known for its extreme weather conditions and record-breaking wind speeds.




Huron-Manistee National Forests are actually two distinct national forests, the Huron and Manistee, and cover a combined area of nearly one million acres in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Together, these forests offer a diverse landscape of hardwood forests, wetlands and sand dunes. In fact, the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area, situated on the east shore of Lake Michigan, is one of the few wilderness areas in the U.S. with an extensive lake shore dune ecosystem.

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The Huron-Manistee might be best known for its thousands of lakes and miles of sparkling rivers, all of which offer ample opportunities to canoe, fish, kayak, and swim. Some other unique activities include berry picking, mushroom foraging, OHV riding, and panning for gold.


While there aren’t any hook-ups in Huron-Manistee National Forests, RVs are still welcome to dry camp or simply enjoy a fun day on the water. Lake Michigan Recreation Area remains a very popular destination for RVers. With 99 campsites right along the shores of Lake Michigan, visitors can enjoy plenty of beach access, potable water, restrooms, an amphitheater, and picnic areas.

Did You Know: The Huron-Manistee National Forests is home to the Lumberman's Monument, a tribute to the lumberjacks who helped shape the region's history during the logging boom of the 1800s.

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Sawtooth National Forest is situated in central Idaho and most known for its dramatic landscapes, including the picturesque Sawtooth Mountains. Spanning over 2.1 million acres, the forest is divided into four recreational areas: the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, the Ketchum Ranger District, the Fairfield Ranger District and the Minidoka Ranger District. Visitors can journey through dense forests, traverse rugged mountains and explore the shores of sparkling alpine lakes.

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Camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing, hunting, canoeing, rafting, and biking are just a few of the many recreational activities guests can enjoy. Additionally, there are some very unique wildlife viewing opportunities—the Sawtooth National Forest is home to numerous rare and endangered species, including the Canadian lynx, gray wolf and wolverine.


There are several RV campgrounds within Sawtooth National Forest, many of which can accommodate different camping styles and preferences. Baumgartner Campground is an ideal place for RVers, with 39 campsites situated along the South Fork of the Boise River.

Did You Know: The area that is now Sawtooth National Forest was first occupied by people as early as 8000 BC and by the Shoshone Tribe after 1700 AD.