Fascinating nature of Abr Forest in Semnan Province attracts countless tourists
Located at 45km from Shahroud, northern Province of Semnan, there exists Abr (Cloud) Forest, one of the oldest and most beautiful forests in Iran.
It is a fascinating natural setting far beyond imagination, showcasing a wonderful ecosystem with an abundance of fog covering the ground and vegetation which attracts a large number of domestic and foreign tourists every year, persiatrip.com reported.
As temperature drops a few hours before sunset and due to the closeness of two high and low pressure regions, namely Gorgan Plain and Abr region, clouds start developing on the saddles of mountains and scurrying into the forest.
At this moment, the forest is veiled in thick fog and visibility decreases to a meter ahead, providing visitors a memorable chance to enjoy walking in the midst of clouds as if they were walking on clouds.
Within the thick forests, it is hard to believe that you are in Semnan Province, a short distance from Iran’s central desert and Khartouran National Park (a biosphere reserve), realizing the reason Shahrud is called ‘a small continent’: The cloud forest in the north and the central desert in the south.
As visitors go past the city of Bastam, scenes of the clouds far-off over the mountains and along the 4,000-meter Shahvar Mountain become more visible, promising that they are getting closer to the dreamy forest.
Stretching over 35,000 hectares and at a high altitude, the forest constitutes a part of the ancient Hyrcanian forests encompassing the northern slopes of the Alborz Mountains and covering the southern coastline of the Caspian Sea.
Having diverse vegetation, the forest includes old woody plants such as beech, oak, alder, elm and cherry trees, seemingly sometimes over the clouds as well as unique springs flowing in the middle. Of the fantastic trees encircling the forest, juniper stands out, a tree native to the region which is seen everywhere with indescribable beauty. Also, the forest includes steep hills which are dense in some places and scattered in others that are clearly seen in broad daylight.
Being overcast and foggy in most seasons, the spectacular cloud forest offers an amazing holiday destination especially in the summer due to having low temperatures.
Here, coolness and freshness are the truly pleasant senses for those who go to the area due to the proximity of the clouds to people’s face, often in the form of dew on eyes and hair.
Surrounding the district, there are also an ancient monument known as Maran Castle and the Shorshor Waterfall which flows at the bottom of a valley and remains intact due to its inaccessibility, making the site more beautiful.
Taking a ride in the forest is just like realizing the dream of walking on clouds, watching beautiful scenes, taking marvelous photos, and getting completely relaxed with a lifetime experience.
Part of the foreign tourists in the area are botanists who come to Iran to see the rare herbaceous species found in the Hyrcanian forests, and the second group is common tourists who come from Central Asia and the Middle East.
The animal species of this region include brown bear, wolf, leopard, wild boar, jackal, fox, rabbit, goat and snake. Wild pigeon, quail, wild eagle, vulture, hawk, cuckoo and pheasant are among the birds that live in the forest.
Best time to visit
The Abr Forest is spectacular at all times of the year and enjoys a wonderful variety and beauty. But the best time to visit the area is March until late October.
If you are planning to visit this forest at this time of year, we suggest you take one-day, two-day or four-day tours.
Clouds in the forest begin to descend as the weather gets colder, reaching the surface of the forest. So start your tour early in the morning, and if you’re not planning to stay in the area for the night, it’s better to leave the forest before the weather gets dark.