Ready for having some adventure in the old forests of dinosaurs’ time? The Hyrcanian Forests in Iran are among the most fascinating spots for adventurers. You can experience exciting activities such as forest hiking, cycling, birdwatching, and camping in the lush forests, visit natural attractions such as rivers and waterfalls, and enjoy the silence of the forest during different times of the year. Stay with us to know more about experiencing adventure in Iran’s Hyrcanian Forests.
Hyrcanian forests also are known as “Living fossils”, “Natural Museum”, and “Remains from the third geological period and the Ice Age”. Hyrcanian Forests are one of the oldest dense forests in Iran, which is located in the south of the Caspian Sea between our country, Iran and Azerbaijan. According to the available evidence, the life of the trees in the Hyrcanian forests dates back to the third geological period, which is related to dinosaurs, about 40 million years ago!
These multi-million-year-old forests are spread in five provinces of Iran, and among the most important attractions in the heart of these forests are well-known areas such as Golestan National Park, Shahroud Cloud Forest, Jahannama Protected Area, and Bola Protected Area.
The forest was inscribed as a natural world heritage on July 5th, 2019. This is the second UNESCO-listed natural attraction in Iran after the LUT Desert.
Considering the fact that all tropical forests in the world have 4 types of climatic conditions during the year, it is interesting to know that these living fossil forests in Iran have three climatic layers. The climate in the Hyrcanian forests is dry during summers, and humid during spring and autumns, the winters are often mild. The climatic conditions of the Hyrcanian region have been so favorable that for millions of years they have been able to survive in the north of the country and be home to many animals.
Extending through five provinces in the north of Iran, the Hyrcanian forests have embraced numerous natural attractions that would amaze any visitor, and many of them are considered as protected areas in Iran due to the diversity of flora and fauna in these areas. We have already named some of the gorgeous spots in the place but let’s get to know more about them.
Golestan National Park
Golestan is the largest natural park in Iran and the first one inscribed as a national park. Obviously, a park of this impressive size is full of natural and spectacular attractions. Beautiful plains and unique landscapes, lush trees, several spectacular rivers and waterfalls, and the fountains around the park, have turned it into a full-fledged collection of natural attractions. There are several rivers in this park and more than 21 springs have been identified in it. So, there are a lot of natural attractions to enjoy.
The ecosystem of this park contains 1350 species of plants, and 302 species of animals, which is quite extraordinary. More than fifty percent of Iran’s mammal species live in this park, one-eighth of the plant species, one-third of the bird species also live here.
The Abr (meaning cloud in Persian) Forest is surrounded by an ocean of clouds. When you set up your tent to camp, you can see clouds come and cover everywhere. This forest is located in an area where the thickness of Alborz mountains is decreased and the clouds behind this wall-flow south through the valleys; the location of the Gorgan plain and cloud region in two low-pressure and high-pressure areas, has caused the clouds to move whenever the earth receives energy.
Being located in high altitude, the forest altitude starts from 800 meters in Shirinabad village, which is not low already and reaches 2700 meters in the highest point. You can count on renting a house in Abar and Shirinabad villages, but there are hotels in Shahroud available as well.
Mountaineering, forest hiking, birdwatching, and identification of medicinal plants with a local leader is among the activities adventurers can enjoy in this amazing Hyrcanian Forests.
Jahannama Protected Area
You will find one of the most untouched forests of Iran in Jahannama village. This area was registered as a protected area about 50 years ago. Summers are full of passion for life here, however, the cold weather during winter push people to migrate to warmer areas. It may even rain here in the summer, you need to travel by a four-wheel drive. There is also a possibility that the car will get stuck in the mud.
Once you get to the worldview, you can rent villas and stay overnight. Of course, if you are a nature lover, you can also set up a tent there. In this case, do not stay away from the village, because the area is the habitat of wild animals. The worldview is a forest that is mostly covered by fog, the fogs appear afternoon and last until night. As you walk through the forest, you will reach a cottage where you can enjoy drinking a cup of tea and having an omelet.
If you are a mountaineer, you can ascend to the heart of the mountain. When the weather is clear, you can see the view of a green landscape below your feet from the top of the area, which looks like a postcard. However, foggy or cloudy weather offers its own captivating beauty as well.
Bola Protected Area
This area is located near Kiasar National Park and the Dudangeh and Chahardangeh Wildlife Sanctuaries. Taking Firoozkooh road and then follow the path of Pol-e Sefid and Sangdeh villages, signs will guide you to this waterfall.
You will pass through dense and soaring trees on this road. After passing a relatively steep but dreamy path, you will hear the sound of the waterfall and you are quite close to the destination. Bola waterfall is the fascinating landscape you will reach here. If you are lucky enough, you can see brown bears, salamanders, partridges, etc. around this waterfall. Every season offers its own beauty; however, Bola waterfall is most beautiful during spring. The colorful autumn of this region is also unforgettable and its cool summers are a pristine destination to escape the heat.
Activities you can experience in the Hyrcanian Forests
You want to step on the freshly shed leaves and hear their delightful squeaking sound under your feet. Autumn landscapes are delightful memories to record and where is it better to record them than forests. The most amazing time to experience forest hiking in the Hyrcanian Forests is during spring and fall.
Cycling is one of the common experiences in the Hyrcanian Forests. So, if you want to experience cycling in Iran, the Hyrcanian Forests would be your dream road.
If you are planning to camp, make sure to bring a sleeping bag, hiking boots, warm clothing, extra clothing, a flashlight, snacks such as canned food, water, a traveling tent, a warm and sun hat, and a garbage bag. It is possible to go to these forests with the help of a guide and have equipment such as maps, GPS, and compasses. If you are camping, it would be safe to light a fire at night.