When people think of rainforests, they often envision lush, tropical jungles in far-off lands like the Amazon or Borneo. Did you know, however, that there are rainforests in the United States? It’s true! The United States is home to several diverse and unique rainforest ecosystems, both tropical and temperate.
These ecosystems provide critical habitat for a wide array of species. In this article, we will take a look at the rainforests in the United States, and learn about their features and ecological importance.
6 Rainforests In The United States
Before we dive into the rainforests in the United States, we first need to look at the two different types of rainforests that can be found in the US: tropical and temperament. Tropical rainforests and temperate rainforests differ in terms of location, climate, vegetation, biodiversity, and the specific challenges they each face.
Both types of rainforests are important for ecological reasons and require conservation efforts to ensure their continued existence. What’s even better is that you can find them both in the United States. Here are some examples.
1. Hoh Rainforest
The Hoh Rainforest, located in Olympic National Park in Washington State, is a renowned temperate rainforest in the United States. This unique ecosystem is characterized by its dense canopy of moss-draped trees, towering ferns, and an annual rainfall of up to 140 inches, which makes it one of the wettest places in the country.
The Hoh Rainforest is famous for its biodiversity, housing various species of flora and fauna, including towering Sitka spruce and Douglas fir trees, Roosevelt elk, black bears, and numerous species of salmon. Its lush landscape and abundant wildlife make the Hoh Rainforest a captivating destination for nature enthusiasts, while also being a prime example of temperate rainforest beauty in the United States.
2. Quinault Rainforest
The Quinault Rainforest, situated on the southwestern side of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, is another temperate rainforest found in the United States. This lush rainforest is known for its enchanting ancient trees, with some towering Douglas firs and Sitka spruces reaching heights of 300 feet.
The Quinault Rainforest is a place of remarkable natural beauty, characterized by its dense canopies and serene atmosphere. Visitors to this rainforest can explore its enchanting trails, immerse themselves in the tranquil surroundings, and witness the timeless grandeur of the tall plants that tower above. All of this makes the Quinault Rainforest a must-visit destination for anyone interested in temperate rainforests in the United States.
3. El Yunque National Forest
Location: Puerto Rico
El Yunque National Forest, located in Puerto Rico, shows that you can find tropical rainforests in the United States. Keep in mind, however, that Puerto Rico is not a US territory and not part of the continental United States. As a tropical rainforest, El Yunque is distinguished by its lush and diverse landscape, abundant rainfall, and unique topography.
This forest is rich with biodiversity and filled with a plethora of exotic flora and fauna, including the endangered Puerto Rican parrot and the Coquí tree frog. El Yunque National Forest is a remarkable treasure, showcasing the vibrant and captivating beauty of tropical rainforests and their vital ecological significance within the U.S. jurisdiction.
4. Tongass National Forest
Tongass National Forest, nestled in the southeastern region of Alaska, stands as the largest national forest in the United States and is a prime example of a temperate rainforest. This vast ecosystem found in this forest is defined by its towering hemlock, Sitka spruce, and western red cedar trees that absolutely dominate the landscape.
You will also find countless rivers, fjords, and a remarkable array of wildlife, including brown bears, bald eagles, and salmon. Its lush canopies and dramatic coastal scenery make the Tongass National Forest a breathtaking example of temperate rainforest in the United States.
5. Siuslaw National Forest
Siuslaw National Forest, located along the picturesque central Oregon coast, showcases the splendor of a temperate rainforest within the United States. This captivating forest is characterized by its dense canopies, abundant rainfall, and rich diversity of plant and animal life. Mosses, ferns, and lichens cover the forest floor, while towering evergreen and deciduous trees, such as Douglas firs and spruces, create a majestic canopy above your head.
The Siuslaw National Forest is also near Oregon’s coastline, which means visitors have a unique opportunity to explore a temperate rainforest along the Oregon Coast Trail. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, the Siuslaw National Forest is a must-see adventure for people of all ages.
6. Redwood National and State Parks
Redwood National and State Parks, located in northern California, are renowned around the world for their awe-inspiring giant sequoias. In fact, these towering trees are some of the tallest on Earth. What you may not know, however, is that the Redwood National and State Parks is also a temperate rainforest in the United States.
The park’s landscape is a captivating blend of immense redwoods, lush undergrowth, and pristine rivers. It is also a haven for various wildlife species, including Roosevelt elk and black bears. If you’re seeking the wonders of the California North Coast, make sure to plan a stop at Redwood.
- “The United States also has rainforests”, Noelani Kirschner, ShareAmerica, Apr 18, 2022, share.america.gov
- “Hidden treasures: America’s rainforests”, Max Greenberg, The Wilderness Society, June 20, 2016, wilderness.org
- “Why Isn’t Puerto Rico a State?”, Raquel Reichard, The History, July 12, 2023, history.com