The World's Most Magical and Enchanted Forests

These amazing landscapes are not from a movie — they're real, and ready for you to explore.
A rainforest in Olympic National Park, Washington
A rainforest in Olympic National Park, Washington © Jordan Siemens/Getty Images
By Alison Mann

Ancient forests have a way of capturing the imagination — why else would they show up in so many memorable movies? Dark, mysterious and hauntingly beautiful, they conjure images of mythical creatures and creepy characters.

From twisted yew trees to majestic Californian redwoods, we've found the world's most inspiring real-life forests. Check them out below.

Olympic National Park, Washington (pictured at top)

The lush green rainforest of Olympic National Park has an incredibly diverse ecosystem with old growth in the shadow of glacier-covered peaks and alpine meadows.

 

Rata Forest in New Zealand
The gnarly Rata Forest in New Zealand © Rob Brown

Rata Forest, New Zealand

New Zealand is home to this particularly gnarly forest on Enderby Island, which looks like it has come straight out of "Lord of the Rings," which was filmed in the country. Just don't expect the trees here to talk (or walk, for that matter).

 

Magnificent redwoods in California
Magnificent redwoods in California © Kristin Piljay/Getty Images

Del Norte Redwoods State Park, California

Majestic, proud, magnificent. When you stand in a redwood forest, you stand among giants. The quintessential redwood forest can be found at Del Norte Redwoods State Park in California.

 

Spain's Gorbeia Natural Park
Spain's Gorbeia Natural Park © Westend61/Getty Images

Gorbeia Natural Park, Spain

Go green. These mossy wonders can be found in Spain’s Gorbeia Natural Park, located at the foot of Mount Gorbeia, which sits at 4,859 feet.

 

A lush green forest in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
A forest of fearns in Hawaii © Vaughn Greg

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

This beautiful fern-heavy forest is a haven amongst the barren land at the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii. The forest in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is made up primarily of tree fern and ohia trees.

 

Brocéliande forest in Bretagne, France
Brocéliande forest in Bretagne, France © Christophe Kiciak/Getty Image

Brocéliande Forest, France

This particular old moss-covered beech tree actually has a name, Ponthus’ beech, which legend has it is named after a knight of the Round Table. The tree can be found in Brocéliande Forest near Brittany, France.

 

The Goblin forest in New Zealand
The Goblin forest in New Zealand © Rob Brown

Goblin Forest, New Zealand

This was not a film location in "Lord of the Rings," but it may as well have been. The mystical Goblin Forest in New Zealand can be explored when visiting the Tararua Forest Park. Probably not the kind of place you want to spend a lonely night, though.

 

The ancient yew trees in Sussex are some of the oldest things in Britain
An ancient tree in Sussex, England © Robin Bush/Getty Images

Ancient yew, England

This twisted yew tree is among one of the oldest in England. Some of the trees are said to be almost 2,000 years old and are popular with kids playing hide-and-seek. The trees don't have man to thank for their survival — they were once used as target practice by Britain's Royal Air Force.

 

An autumnal forest in Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany
An autumnal forest in Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany © Westend61/Getty Images

Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Some forests are meant for walks; some trees are there to climb. And there are others where you just need to stand and stare. This enchanting autumnal scene was captured in Baden Wuerttemberg in the southwest of Germany.

 

A springtime forest in the Netherlands
A springtime forest in the Netherlands © Bob van den Berg Photography/Getty Images

Display of light in the Netherlands

No forest scene is complete until the sun appears, sending through great shards of light that illuminate the forest floor. This forest scene can be found in many areas across northern Europe. This one is actually in the Netherlands.

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