A Deep Dive into Iran's Forest Wonders
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Semnan is one of the hot and desert-like provinces. If someone isn’t familiar with its nature, they will find it hard to believe that one of Iran’s most beautiful forests, named “Cloud Forest,” is located in this region. Situated about 45 kilometers north of Shahroud, near a village called Abr, the trees of this forest are of the Hyrcanian type and have been around for almost 40 million years. The forest spans roughly 35,000 hectares and features trees like alder, ash, oak, shroud, tusk, and Aframamorz. When visiting this forest, you’ll be greeted with the pleasant aroma of thyme. In addition to thyme, other herbs like borage, spikenard, fox’s tail, and maroon can be spotted, along with over 40 types of medicinal plants.
Traveling to Ramsar lets you see one of Iran’s most famous cities and welcomes you to the Dalikhani forest. This forest is located about 30 kilometers southeast of Ramsar. Dalikhani is a semi-mountainous forest 800 meters above sea level and is nestled in the Alborz mountains near the Jannat-Abad road. In Dalikhani, the pristine nature, foggy atmosphere, winding roads, and intertwined trees resembling corridors invite you to a mesmerizing earthly paradise. The forest is excellent for picnics, mountaineering, jungle trekking, and photography. Bring the necessary equipment and consider having an experienced guide accompany you.
Another of Iran’s most beautiful forests is located in Golestan province, about 5 kilometers southwest of Gorgan. This forest spans approximately 185 hectares. The closer one gets to the mountain foothills, the denser the trees and the forest becomes. Registered as a national heritage site in 2004, this forest is now one of northern Iran’s most popular tourist attractions. Inside Alangdareh Park, there’s a health trail offering one of the most beautiful hiking experiences. Moreover, the park features a bike station and a dedicated cycling path, amplifying the joy of forest exploration.
If you like to imagine that you are the first person to step into a forest and discover it, we recommend visiting the forests of Two Thousand and Three Thousand in Tonekabon. A misty and pristine atmosphere, combined with the sound of birds, multiplies the popularity of these forests. The main entrance to these forests is located five kilometers from Tonekabon and the village of Khorramabad.
The best time to visit this region is from mid-September to late November. During this period, the air has less humidity, and you can comfortably enjoy the forest environment. If you are into trekking and want to see the untouched parts of the Two Thousand and Three Thousand forests, be aware of animals such as brown bears, leopards, deer, and others.
Dasht-e Barm, or the Miankotal recreational area, is the largest oak forest in Iran and the Middle East. These forests are home to the largest population of Iranian yellow deer. Dasht-e Barm is located 30 kilometers east of Kazeroon in Fars province, on central Iran’s edge of the Zagros Mountains. The Miankotal Caravanserai, the only stone-built caravanserai in Iran, is also located in Dasht-e Barm. In addition to oaks, almonds, Kyalak, and Arjen are found in the area. In the spring (especially in the month of Ordibehesht), the plain is covered with wild poppy flowers.
Saravan Forest Now, let’s move on to another magnificent forest in Iran located in Gilan province. Saravan Forest Park is among the oldest forests in Iran, situated near the city of Rasht. In this forest, in addition to various rare plants and trees, you’ll also find tourist attractions such as the Saravan Lake—a lake entirely covered in green algae. Throw a small stone into the lake, and you’ll see the dance of these algae as they sway with the waves.
You can rent one of the paddle boats available around the lake for boating on this lake. ATVs (four-wheelers) and paintball are other attractions of this forest park that are worth trying out.
To become acquainted with other forests of Iran, we need to venture to the country’s northwestern regions. Arasbaran, as one of Iran’s most significant forests, covers more than 80,000 meters of the western part of our nation. This forest cannot be attributed to just one city! Arasbaran forest is located in the north of East Azerbaijan Province and is shared between the counties of Kalibar, Varzaqan, and Ahar. The verdant nature of this forest is one of the most significant tourist attractions of East Azerbaijan.
Springs, rivers, various trees, and vast grasslands are all things one would expect from nature, and Arasbaran Forest embodies all of these elements at their finest. To reach this forest, first, get to the city of Tabriz and then travel from Tabriz towards Ahar or Kalibar. Indeed, one day in this area will not be enough to satisfy your journey!
Talesh can quickly be introduced as one of the best cities in northern Iran for nature enthusiasts. Gisoom Forest, alongside green plains and pleasant highlands, is one of Talesh’s most famous natural attractions. It has become a tourism hub for the Gilan Province and attracts numerous tourists from all over Iran for recreation and nature tours throughout the year. The forest’s proximity to the silver-coated beaches of the Caspian Sea further enhances its appeal.
You’ll find a forest and a waterfall in whichever city of Mazandaran province you visit! Palang Darreh (Leopard Valley) is the name of one of the most beautiful green forested areas in Mazandaran, made even more enticing by a river flowing through it. In Palang Darreh Forest, you will come across a beautiful waterfall if you follow the river. The warm summer days are the best times to visit this forest and its stunning waterfall.
One thing to note is that when traveling to the forest, bring an extra set of clothes. Chances are your clothes or shoes will get wet, and you’ll need a spare set.
You probably haven’t seen deer anywhere other than zoos, but if you can make your way to the Fandoghloo forest in Ardabil province and luck is on your side, you can see wild deer up close. Fandoghloo Forest is a place filled with meadows of colorful and fragrant flowers reminiscent of childhood paintings. It marks the boundary between the cold, dry climate of Ardabil and the warm, humid climate of Gilan. For this reason, the weather in this forest is often cloudy, with a high probability of precipitation. As the name suggests, the forest is densely populated with hazelnut trees. Apart from hazelnuts, there are various other trees like alder, oak, wild cherry, and hornbeam. As you approach Heiran Pass in this forest, the density of the trees decreases, revealing more meadows full of colorful flowers. The forest has numerous animals, including wild deer, bears, minks, eagles, and other birds. If you are fond of chamomile flowers, plan your trip in spring or early summer, as the forest is full of chamomile flowers during this time. To get to this forest, you can enter from Gilan Province through the Heiran Pass or get help from the city of Namin in Ardabil Province.
Siahkal Forest is one of the most beautiful forests in Gilan Province. In the local dialect, Siahkal means a settlement or village next to a steep mountain or cliff. Indeed, this is true for the Siahkal Forest and its surrounding villages. Trekking in the Siahkal Forest means passing through a dreamlike path surrounded by dense, lush trees. One of the primary reasons this forest is so mysterious is its ancient historical buildings, like a teahouse named “Tea House of Ti Ti,” also called the “Caravanserai of Aunt Ti Ti,” located on top of a hill. This teahouse, dating back to the Safavid era, tempts visitors with the notion that if you venture deeper into the untouched parts of the forest, you may come across other strange and historical structures.
Essential Tips for Forest Trekking:
To fully enjoy forest trekking and make beautiful memories, pay attention to the following points:
- If you’re going to a forest with a river or waterfall and intend to swim, have an extra set of clothes.
- Use a backpack that’s easy to carry.
- Carry bottled water, preserved food, and nutritious snacks.
- Don’t forget wound adhesive tape, insect-repellent ointment, and hand sanitizer.
- If you’re unfamiliar with the forest or lack camping experience, stay overnight with a guide.
After having fun, there’s no need for a considerable effort; ensure you:
- Don’t leave any trace behind.
- Do not leave your garbage in nature.
- Put out any fires.
- Avoid breaking tree branches or inscribing on tree trunks.
- Don’t pick plants or harm the animals in the forest.
Forests are the capital of the Earth. During our travels enjoying nature, forests, and seas, every one of us is responsible for protecting them best. The forests of Iran hold significant importance in terms of their impact on wildlife and the lives of all living creatures. Losing them would equate to the loss of us and other living beings.