By: Elspeth Velten
Even if you're one of those people with an "Earth First (We'll log the other planets later)" bumper sticker on your car, we think you'll appreciate this visual hike through some of the world's most spectacular forests.
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Best accessed from: Tanah Rata, where days spent exploring the surrounding mountains are rewarded with steaming hot-pot dinners and local tea.
Best hike: Tours outfitters bring adventurers up to either a slippery boardwalk or to a root-ridden dirt trail -- the forest takes under an hour to experience.
Carnivorous pitcher plants and delicate orchids stand out amongst the spongy green moss covering the trees in this high-elevation cloud forest. The winding approach takes tourists through crowded hill station towns and rolling green tea fields before ascending into the misty mountaintops of mainland Malaysia. Don't miss a climb to the viewpoint at the summit of Gunung Brinchang. And bring your boots -- your footsteps in the moss will fill with water as you take each step.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Best accessed from: A drive along the 32-mile Avenue of the Giants provides a humbling intro to these ancient trees. You will feel like an insignificant insect. An ant.
Best hike: While the Founders Grove Nature Trail is popular for its impressive heights, the Rockefeller Loop at the Bull Creek Flats is less crowded and just as towering.
If huge old-growth trees are your thing, a visit the redwoods of northern California is probably your best bet. Humboldt Redwoods State Park is one of the best places to be immersed in the state's redwood forests, and three of the world's ten tallest trees are located in the park's Bull Creek Flats area alone. Yes -- you can drive through a giant tree here. Just don't try to hug one, unless you have freakishly long arms.
Great Otway National Park
Best accessed from: The Great Ocean Road, which begins west of Melbourne in Torquay.
Best hike: The Maits Rest boardwalk trail offers a short, easy walk through the lush landscape of Great Otway's inland temperate rainforest.
Inland from Australia's famed Great Ocean Road, the cool rainforests of the Great Otway National Park are home to massive tree ferns and cackling kookaburras. The rainforest is dotted with impressive waterfalls like the Erskine and Henderson falls, and in the park's south, swaying eucalyptus trees along Otway Lighthouse Road teem with lazy koalas.
Best accessed from: Iquitos, Peru is one of this massive jungle's best jump-off points.
Best hike: Most tours take place on the river, but several lodges near Iquitos offer access to a canopy walkway where the forest can be viewed from the top, down.
The Earth's largest rainforest spans over eight countries and 1.4 billion acres. It's fertilized (via natural phenomenon) by dust from Africa's Sahara Desert and it's home to jaguars, pink dolphins, toucans and -- our Saturday morning spirit animal -- sloths. Not to mention the isolated tribes who still live in this forest and are lucky enough to not know that Facebook is a thing.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Best accessed from: This big bunch of bamboo is easily reached via Kyoto's public bus and train systems.
Best hike: The only trail here leads straight through the bamboo grove, leaving little room for error and providing a calming break from the language barrier you've probably been suffering under.
Trust us: the growth exhibited in this bamboo grove is IMPRESSIVE. Since sharing pics on social media became the main reason to travel, there's zero chance you'll have this grove to yourself, but the green-tinged walk through the towering bamboo stalks here has an undeniable otherworldly appeal nonetheless. Be quiet, and you'll be able to experience the government-recognized sound of the bamboo stalks bumping with the wind.
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