Disney’s “The Jungle Book,” inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s iconic novel, is sure to awaken the adventurous side in all of us, but taking a trip to the lush rain forests of Brazil’s Amazon or India may be too cost-prohibitive for most. Don’t get too discouraged, though. It turns out there are some stunning options right in America’s backyard.
After doing some exploration, Marriott Traveler has discovered that the U.S. has some impressive rainforests, national parks and jungles of its own worth visiting. The only thing missing is the talking animals–especially any tigers that may want to eat you.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the simple bare necessities of life, right?
Columbia River Gorge – Oregon
Twenty minutes east of Portland, the Columbia River Gorge has beautiful trails with 600-foot waterfalls for you to admire along the way. If looking isn’t enough, you can hop into Punchbowl Falls for a refreshing dip.
Redwood National Park – California
The Redwood Forest, a six-hour drive from San Francisco, is famous for having the biggest trees on earth. It’s also home to thousands of plants and hundreds of animals, including black bears, though I wouldn’t suggest a sing off with one.
Olympic National Park – Washington
Set on the Olympic Peninsula, two hours west of Seattle, Hoh Rain Forest is a temperate rainforest that looks straight out of the movie. Bright green moss covers everything you see and the river runs with milky slate blue water. Within this American treasure is a flourishing elk population.
Tongass National Forest – Alaska
Tongass is America’s largest national forest with 17 million acres, 20 minutes north of Juneau. It’s home to grizzly bears, rare wolves, bald eagles, gigantic ancient trees – even whales and sea lions. It’s one of the most unimpacted temperate rainforest remaining in the world.
Ocala National Forest – Florida
Ocala, an hour away from Orlando, is a subtropical rainforest and has four major natural springs of 72-degree crystal clear water. It also has four wilderness areas dedicated to the preservation of uninterrupted wildlife where you’ll find black bears, otters, raccoons and other Florida creatures.
El Yunque National Forest – Puerto Rico
Being the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service, El Yunque, just 20 minutes east Rio Grande, is pretty unique. No large wild animals call the forest home, but the countless indigenous animals, plants and trees give it an extra jungle-booky feel.
Niagara Escarpment – New York, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois
Often called the “Great Arc,” the Niagara Escarpment is a bizarre ridge that stretches over 1,000 miles across four states and Ontario, Canada. You’ll find a series of trails and huge caves just waiting to be explored.
Manoa Falls Trail – Hawaii
Featuring a vertical drop of around 150 feet, Manoa Falls can be reached by hiking one of Oahu’s most popular trails through the tropical jungle of Manoa Valley, only 30 minutes away from Honolulu’s bustling downtown.