From dramatic landscapes to towering mountain ranges, our beloved national parks are places of wonder. Forests are a vital part of our ecosystem and are worth celebrating; after all, we couldn’t live without them. On Tuesday, the world celebrated International Day of Forests, so, in its honour, I’ve picked out a selection of my favourite national parks from around the world.
1) Yosemite National Park, California
Covering more than 1,100 square miles, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is ever changing. Trek to the highest peaks, raft down the winding rivers and rock climb your way to the top of the sheer rock formations. Discover unparalleled beauty one adventure at a time. Walk among the giant sequoia trees and hear the echoing canyons as you reconnect with the natural world.
2) La Gomera, Canary Islands
With its 650km of trails, you can lose yourself in the fairytale forests between the moss-covered trees and lush, green landscape. Follow the babbling brooks to small pools of crystal-clear waters to see the trickling waterfalls and colourful vegetation. The island is a valuable biosphere reserve and is home to species that aren’t found anywhere else in the world.
3) Banff National Park, Canada
Banff National Park is a must visit, not only for the dense forest, towering snowy caps, and the unbelievable beauty of Moraine Lake; but for its wildlife too. Recently, a herd of bison has been reintroduced to Banff National Park. This comes more than 130 years after they originally started grazing there, before the species was nearly hunted to extinction. Thankfully, today, the Banff National Park is a protected reserve and so is a refuge for wildlife and nature.
4) Madeira National Park, Madeira
This large, biological reserve has its own climate zone, flourishing in green nature. The Madeira National Park is best explored on foot, with hundreds of walking trails that take you under waterfalls, around rocky cliff sides and through thick forests. Follow the Levadas waterways, which span approximately 1,500km and were once used to supply water to southern Madeira, but now provide hydroelectric power across the island.
5) Krka National Park, Croatia
Wander through the pathways of Krka National Park and discover the magnificent, natural waterfalls such as the famous Skradinski Buk falls; a truly beautiful sight to be seen. Take a boat tour down the Krka River before taking a refreshing dip in one of the picturesque lagoons. With easy travel links from Split, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Croatia.
6) Bijilo Forest Park, Banjul
Home to the Gambia River, Bijilo Forest Park is where you’ll witness some incredible sights. Exotic animals like the green vervet and patas monkeys, as well as many species of birds and reptiles, are regulars in the park. The small reserve is a haven for wildlife and nature with diverse landscapes that blends gallery forests, grasslands and sandy dunes together.
Have I missed one out? Tell me your favourite national parks in the comments below.