When I think of the Pacific Northwest, I think of Pacific Northwest forests. And when I think of Pacific Northwest forest, I think of Pacific Northwest old-growth temperate forests and rainforests, optimized by massive bigleaf maple, western redcedar, Sitka spruce, western hemlock, Douglas-fir, red alder and coastal redwood.
These forests run along the Pacific coast from Southeast Alaska, through British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and into Northern California.
These giant forests are places to find solitude and quiet … places to see many of the world’s largest trees while also paying attention to the little things growing on the forest floor.
With up to 10 feet of annual rainfall, and located just below the Pacific Coast Ranges, these forests are prolific with creeks, streams, rivers and waterfalls.
April through June are great times to find wildflowers blooming on the forest floor.
While Pacific Northwest forests are dominated with conifers, there are still concentrations of deciduous trees like cottonwood, bigleaf maple, alder, vine maple, subalpine larch and a variety of shrubs that can splash some fall color against the dark green coniferous backdrop come autumn.
In winter, low-land forests generally remain snow-free and open to year-round exploration (usually in the rain). Mid- to upper-elevation forests, however, accumulate significant depths of snow and become a winter playground for snowshoeing and other winter sports.