The Complete List of US National Forests

The United States is well known for its epic set of National Parks but the National Parks only make up a small fraction of the publicly owned land in the United States. The Federally owned land is split between several federal agencies based on that what and how the land is to be preserved and protected. One of these agencies is the U.S. Forest Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Foresty Service’s primary job is to manage our National Forest for the present and future use. Here is a complete list of US National Forests.

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Looking for an updated list of national forests by state? We have a complete list of US National Forests and a map of each forest's location. Find a National Forest near you.  National Forest List #nationalforest

How many National Forests are there in United States?

There are 152** areas known as National Forests and two that have other titles but are counted as National Forests. These National Forest cover 188,336,179 acres (294,275 sq. mi / 762,169 sq. km) of land. Like the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service manages more than just National Forests. They also manage 20 National Grasslands, 59 purchase units, 19 research and experimental areas, five land utilization projects, and 37 other areas and national monuments. 

** Some lists will have the number of National Forests listed as 154. Idaho Panhandle National Forests is made up of three jointly administered national forests (Kaniksu National Forest, Coeur d’Alene National Forest, and St. Joe National Forest). Some lists may count these three forests as individual National Forests.

What is the difference between a National Park and National Forest?

The difference between a National Park and National Forest is complex and is often confused by news reporters, activists, and legislators. The difference is more than just the term ‘National Forest’ and ‘National Park’ and one has park rangers and the other forest ranger.

The difference boils down to the mandates of the National Park Service and the National Forest Service.

The National Park Service’s “purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” This mandate is from the 1916 National Park Service Organic Act.

The National Forest Service’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. This is taken directly from USFS’s website.

A quick read of both these mission statement shows that they have the same mission. On the surface, they do have the same core mission. Both agencies are there to protect the land, but the key difference. The Forest Service’s mission includes the words “meet the needs.” This statement is key to understanding the difference between a National Park and a National Forest.

The National Forest Service is protecting and managing the land for public use. This land has been set aside to be used by the citizens of the United States in a responsible manner. I think Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the Forest Service said it best when he said National Forest land is managed, “to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run.”

This is why logging, grazing, mining, and drilling are allowed on National Forest land. This is also why recreation opportunities in the forests are more plentiful and less regulated than in the National Parks. Dogs are much more welcome on trails and allowed off-leash in places. This is why there are ATV roads in many forests. This is why dispersal camping is allowed in the forest.

You may have noticed that many National Parks share a boundary with one or more National Forests. This isn’t by accident. Many of the forests were established near the National Parks as a way to help keep the region’s ecosystem as intact as possible while providing a balance between preservation and public use.

Map of All National Forests by State

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List of US National Forests by State

Here is the list of US national forests by state in alphabetical order for quick reference.

Alabama National Forest

  • Conecuh
  • Talladega
  • Tuskegee
  • William B. Bankhead

Alaska National Forest

  • Chugach
  • Tongass
Tongass National Forest, Alaska

Arizona National Forest

  • Apache-Sitgreaves
  • Coconino
  • Coronado
  • Kaibab
  • Prescott
  • Tonto

Arkansas National Forest

  • Ouachita
  • Ozark-St. Francis

California National Forest

  • Angeles
  • Cleveland
  • Eldorado
  • Humboldt-Toiyabe
  • Inyo
  • Klamath
  • Lake Tahoe Basin Management Area
  • Lassen
  • Los Padres
  • Mendocino
  • Modoc
  • Plumas
  • Rogue River-Siskiyou
  • San Bernardino
  • Sequoia
  • Shasta-Trinity
  • Sierra
  • Six Rivers
  • Stanislaus
  • Tahoe
Tahoe National Forest

Colorado National Forest

  • Arapaho
  • Grand Mesa
  • Gunnison
  • Manti-La Sal
  • Medicine Bow – Routt
  • Pike
  • Rio Grande
  • Roosevelt
  • San Isabel
  • San Juan
  • Uncompahgre
  • White River

Florida National Forest

  • Apalachicola
  • Ocala
  • Osceola

Georgia National Forest

  • Chattahoochee-Oconee

Idaho National Forest

  • Bitterroot
  • Boise
  • Caribou-Targhee
  • Clearwater
  • Idaho Panhandle (Kaniksu, Coeur d’Alene, and St. Joe National Forests)
  • Kootenai
  • Nez Perce
  • Payette
  • Salmon-Challis
  • Sawtooth
  • Uinta-Wasatch-Cache
  • Wallowa-Whitman
Sawtooth National Forest

Illinois National Forest

  • Shawnee

Indiana National Forest

  • Hoosier

Kentucky National Forest

  • Daniel Boone
  • George Washington & Jefferson National Forests
  • Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area

Louisiana National Forest

  • Kisatchie

Maine National Forest

  • White Mountain
White Mountain National Forest

Michigan National Forest

  • Hiawatha
  • Huron-Manistee
  • Ottawa

Minnesota National Forest

  • Chippewa
  • Superior

Mississippi National Forest

  • Bienville
  • De Soto
  • Delta
  • Holly Springs
  • Homochitto
  • Tombigbee

Missouri National Forest

  • Mark Twain

Montana National Forest

  • Beaverhead-Deerlodge
  • Bitterroot
  • Custer
  • Flathead
  • Gallatin
  • Helena
  • Idaho Panhandle
  • Kootenai
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Lolo
Custer National Forest

Nebraska National Forest

  • Nebraska
  • Samuel R. McKelvie

Nevada National Forest

  • Humboldt-Toiyabe
  • Inyo
  • Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

New Hampshire National Forests

  • White Mountain

New Mexico National Forests

  • Apache-Sitgreaves
  • Carson
  • Cibola
  • Coronado
  • Gila
  • Lincoln
  • Santa Fe

New York National Forest

  • Finger Lakes

North Carolina National Forest

  • Cherokee
  • Croatan
  • Nantahala
  • Pisgah
  • Uwharrie
Pisgah National Forest

Ohio National Forest

  • Wayne

Oklahoma National Forest

  • Ouachita

Oregon National Forest

  • Deschutes
  • Fremont-Winema
  • Klamath
  • Malheur
  • Mount Hood
  • Ochoco
  • Rogue River-Siskiyou
  • Siuslaw
  • Umatilla
  • Umpqua
  • Wallowa-Whitman
  • Willamette

Pennsylvania National Forest

  • Allegheny
Allegheny National Forest

Puerto Rico National Forest

  • El Yunque

South Carolina National Forest

  • Francis Marion
  • Sumter

South Dakota National Forest

  • Black Hills
  • Custer

Tennessee National Forest

  • Cherokee
  • Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area
Cherokee National Forest

Texas National Forest

  • Angelina
  • Davy Crockett
  • Sabine
  • Sam Houston

Utah National Forest

  • Ashley
  • Dixie
  • Fishlake
  • Manti-La Sal
  • Sawtooth
  • Uinta-Wasatch-Cache

Vermont National Forest

  • Green Mountain

Virginia National Forest

  • George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

Washington National Forest

  • Colville
  • Gifford Pinchot
  • Idaho Panhandle
  • Mount Baker-Snoqualmie
  • Okanogan-Wenatchee
  • Olympic
  • Umatilla
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

West Virginia National Forest

  • George Washington & Jefferson National Forests
  • Monongahela

Wisconsin National Forest

  • Chequamegon-Nicolet

Wyoming National Forest

  • Ashley
  • Bighorn
  • Black Hills
  • Bridger-Teton
  • Caribou-Targhee
  • Medicine Bow – Routt
  • Shoshone
  • Uinta-Wasatch-Cache

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Looking for an updated list of national forests by state? We have a complete list of US National Forests and a map of each forest's location. Find a National Forest near you.  National Forest List #nationalforest

Hi, I'm Jennifer!

Welcome to the wonderful world of National Parks. I'm here to help you plan your NEXT amazing adventure through the United States National Parks and beyond. I want the national parks to be accessible to all.

I live in Tennessee, and when I'm home, you can find me hiking in the Smokies and the Cumberland Plateau.

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