National Forest Foundation

Seven Largest National Forests

The National Forest System


Forests are the quintessential wild lands. Animals, insects and plants of all kinds live in forested habitats, and some of the most magnificent views in the nation can be found within the pines and leafy trees of our public lands. Among our plentiful National Forests and Grasslands, there are a few that stand out as titans. The largest National Forests in the US are spread all along the Western half of the country, north to Alaska and south to Arizona. Diverse populations of animals—some, endangered species—live, play and depend on these lands. We invite you to visit the mammoth tracts of land. After all, you’re a co-owner. It’s all yours.

Tongass National Forest, Alaska

Pat Heuer, U.S. Forest Service

The largest National Forest in the nation, the Tongass ,a humongous land area, surrounds the Inside Passage. As you explore Southeast Alaska, you can see remnants of the vast glaciers that formed much of the North American landscape. At more than 17 million acres, the Tongass is an incredible testament to conservation and nature.

Chugach National Forest, Alaska

Just outside of Anchorage, the Chugach National Forest is a gem within the National Forest System. At more than five million acres, the Chugach would take a lifetime to fully explore! Glacier Ranger District holds the remains of the ice-masses that shaped the topography of the North American continent and boasts abundant wildlife—even killer whales!

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Nevada and California

A large swath of land in Nevada and California belongs to the public in the form Humboldt-Toiyabe’s 6.3 million acres. Rest your head on one of the many wonderful campgrounds. Mostly in Nevada, the Humboldt-Toiyabe covers a significant amount of land, and all of it belongs to you! Keep an eye out for the estimated 80,000-100,000 prehistoric and archaeological sites.

Salmon-Challis National Forest, Idaho

One of the highlights of the Salmon-Challis is the iconic River of No Return Area-Frank Church Wilderness —the largest contiguous wilderness area in the lower 48! At more than 4.2 million acres in the Salmon-Challis forest alone, you won’t be lacking for places to play and discover the forest.

Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming

If you like seeing North American wildlife, camping, and hiking, then look no further than Bridger-Teton. The Bridger-Teton is home to three Wilderness areas (Bridger Wilderness, the Gros Ventre Wilderness and the Teton Wilderness) not to mention 3.4 million miles of National Forest. Make sure to bring appropriate gear, and watch out—bears and elk should not be approached!

Learn more about the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Montana

Photo by Aaron Olsen.

Looking for escape from the stressors of the modern world? Your troubles won’t follow you to the 3.3 million acres of remote prairies and forested land of Beaverhead-Deerlodge. Hiking is a popular activity, as the famous Nez Perce Historic Trail and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail go right through the forest. Make sure to enjoy the fishing at the high-mountain lakes—or a more established one, like Wade Lake.

Tonto National Forest, Arizona

West of San Carlos and north of Phoenix, the Tonto features some of the most rugged and inherently beautiful land in the country. With nearly three million acres of recreational, natural, public land there is always something to do here. Sonoran Desert cacti and flat lands slowly give way to the highlands of the Mogollon Rim, peaking at 7,400 feet!

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