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Best Camping in Utah



Delicate Arch Trail, United States.

Utah holds some of the most breathtaking national parks in the United States, it’s a prime camping destination for anyone in the west of the country. At 5, it has the third-largest number of national parks in a state, as well as 43 Utah state parks and 13 national park service units in total. The natural beauty help by this state includes sweeping deserts, astonishing rock formations, and snowcapped peaks. With all this and more to see, visit Utah for your next back-to-nature getaway.

Because there’s so many to choose from, we’ve rounded up our favorite spots for the best camping in Utah, so all you need to do is pick from our list. So pack your bags, gather up your camping gadgets, and set off into the natural expanses of the beehive state. 


Bryce Canyon National Park, United States

Utah is well-known for its extensive natural parks and trails.


1. Zion National Park

Distinguished by Zion Canyon’s steep red cliffs, Utah’s first national park is filled with ancient beauty. Follow the paths where Native Americans and pioneers walked many years ago, and take in the enormous sandstone cliffs that soar skyward. Zion is renowned as one of the world’s best places for canyoneering, so try descending into slender canyons as a daytime activity on your camping trip. 

Rock climbing is another popular activity, as Zion National Park has some of the tallest sandstone walls in the world. Experienced climbers will love the huge selection of challenges, while novices can hire a guide in Springdale nearby. Of course, Zoin is also filled with miles of trails, with options for short strolls to strenuous routes for experienced hikers. The famous and dangerous Angel’s Landing Trail is a bucket-list-worthy adventure, less than 5 miles long but including steep drop-offs and narrow ridges. The risk and the thrill are worth it, as hikers will be rewarded with an excellent view of the canyon when they reach the top. 

Our recommended place to stay in Zion National Park is Watchman Campground, where there are 176 campsites. They might seem a little crowded, as it’s not the most private campsite, but in return for amazing views of the watchman rock foundation, we think it’s well worth it. You also gain easy access to the rest of the park. Of the campsites available, 96 have electrical hookups, and reservations are strongly suggested. 


2. Bear Lake State Park

Bear Lake State Park sits on the shore of Bear Lake along the border in Idaho, nestled high in the Rocky Mountains. Here, calcium carbonate in the lake’s water gives it a spectacular aqua blue color and combined with the gorgeous sandy beaches, you’ll feel like you’re on a seaside holiday. There are a number of recreational activities available year-round on the lake, including plenty of watersports and great fishing. Nearby a ski resort offers snowy winter fun, and several hikes take you around the area to explore. 

Bear Lake Campground has 157 sites spread around the entire lake and valley, for tents, trailers, vans, and RVs. Toilets and electricity hookups are scattered throughout, with fire circles already established at most campsites. Anywhere on the shore of Bear Lake makes an amazing camping spot, any one of them opens to a direct view to the beach and blue waters. 


Angels Landing, United States.

The famous Angel’s Landing Trail is a must-do for thrillseekers.


3. Antelope Island State Park

For the camping experience of a lifetime, get your spot on Antelope Island. This state park is an island in the Great Salt Lake, known for its stark beauty and surprisingly abundant wildlife. Because of its isolation, Antelope Island is known as one of the best places to stargaze in Utah. Its also home to free-ranging bison, mule deer, pronghorn (antelope), and numerous other desert animals. 

Antelope Island State Park is also an excellent birdwatching destination, as millions of birds congregate on the shores each year. The park is also filled with backcountry trails, which you can hike, mountain bike, or ride on horseback, to take in the spectacular lake views and island scenery. 

Bridger Bay Campground is a quiet and peaceful place to stay on Antelope Island. There are 26 campsites for tents and RVs, with vault toilets on site. Views from the campsites are highly enjoyable, if you get the right spot then you’ll see panoramic vistas of Great Salt Lake and beyond. De-stressing is one big reason that people take camping trips, and this tranquil island campground won’t disappoint. We highly recommend doing some stargazing from Antelope Island, it’s so quiet and peaceful that you’ll just feel all your stress melt away.


4. Snow Canyon State Park

An area that rarely sees snow, Snow Canyon State Park was actually named after early Utah leaders Lorenzo and Erastus Snow. It’s known for its distinctive towering sandstone cliffs, colored red and white. Other geological features of interest include extinct cinder cones, lava tubes, lava flows, and sand dunes. All around the park, stunning views of the red rock formations can be enjoyed and endless photograph opportunities await!

There are a number of varied trails to try out at snow canyon, such as the Butterfly Trail. This scenic trail winds along the Petrified Dunes, down to the West Canyon Overlook and lava tubes. You could also take a gondola to the top of the mountain for some phenomenal panoramic views, or visit the White Rocks Amphitheater. Contrary to the rest of the park, this small natural amphitheater is composed of white Navajo sandstone, it’s quite the marvel to show your kids. 

The campground at Snow Canyon has 14 RV sites with water and electric hookups, and 17 multi-use campsites. Located amid gorgeous scenery, you couldn’t ask for a better backdrop than the gigantic red stone cliffs. Facilities include modern restrooms, showers, and an RV dump station. More than 18 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails are accessible close by. 


Bear Lake, United States.

Try some kayaking or jetskiing at Bear Lake.


5. Bryce Canyon National Park

This sprawling preserve in southern Utah is famous for its crimson-colored hoodoos, which are spire-shaped rock formations. These hoodoos exist on every continent, but this spectacular sight is the largest concentration on earth. Several popular viewpoints can be enjoyed, each offering a different spectacular vista of the canyon. 

Bryce Canyon National Park has miles of hiking trails, and one such popular trail is the Queen’s/Navajo combination loop. This 2.9-mile connected trail makes a route that will show you both Sunset and Sunrise Point. In the summer, horseback rides make a wonderful way to experience Bryce Canyon, one that’s fun for the whole family. 

When visiting Bryce Canyon National Park, you can stay at the Sunset Campground. Perfectly situated near to Sunset Point, this campground is popular yet spacious, offering 100 campsites. Tent campsites and spots for RV’s are available, and the ground has amenities such as restrooms with flush toilets, picnic tables, and potable water. 


6. Wasatch Mountain State Park

Camping in Utah doesn’t have to be a rustic experience. A trip to Wasatch Mountain State Park brings you closer to shopping, dining out, and golfing, to name a few things. Located in the Heber Valley, this park is filled with beautiful outdoor scenery. Miles of mountain trails can be hiked, or alternatively, ride a mountain bike or go horseback. In winter, skiing is popular and there are snowmobiles to rent on the alpine terrain. 

There are plenty of options for recreation on your camping trip to Wasatch Mountain. An award-winning 36-hole golf course is located in the park, and plenty of sights to see. The campground at Wasatch Mountain State Park has plenty of tent and RV sites, some with full and partial hookups. Restrooms with showers are spread throughout, and a ranger station nearby will provide any information you need.  


Snow Canyon, United States.

The views at Snow Canyon are simply unforgettable.



7. Dixie National Forest

The two million acres of Dixie National Forest stretch 170 miles across southern Utah. Straddling the divide between the Great Basin and the Colorado River, this national forest is the biggest in the state. The southern rim of the Great Basin provides some spectacular scenery, with views of the Colorado River canyons, made up of many-colored cliffs and steeply walled gorges. 

Many visitors to the forest enjoy hiking, horseback riding, hunting, and fishing, there’s a lot of wilderness to explore too. Pine Valley is especially good for horseback riding and enjoying the peace and beauty of the forest in solitude. Also an excellent fishing spot, the many lakes, and reservoirs in the forest are home to rainbow and brown trout to name a few. Anglers, this is a great camping destination for you, just pack up your tackle box and read through our guide on the best way to catch brown trout

There are endless campgrounds to choose from in Dixie National Forest. One we like is the Honeycomb Rocks Campground. Well located in the Pine Valley area, this campground is also nearby to Enterprise Reservoir. Here, a boat ramp is available; it’s the perfect place to camp and fish. There are 21 campsites with picnic tables, fire pits, and tent pads. A vault toilet is available for use and potable water is also accessible on-site. 


8. Arches National Park

This red-rock wonderland is one of the most breathtaking national parks in Utah. The peculiar rock formations are so distinctive, with hundreds of soaring pinnacles, huge fins, and unbelievably balanced rocks to ogle at. Of course, the park’s namesake is its biggest attraction, as there are over 2000 natural stone arches in the 76 thousand acres, the largest density in the world. 

One attraction in this national park is the Devil’s Garden, where you can see a variety of natural arches connected by a network of hiking trails. One such sight is the Landscape Arch, which is the longest in North America. The Devil’s Garden offers stunning views, excellent hiking, and very good stargazing as well. 

The Devil’s Garden Campground is the only one in Arches National Park, but when it’s this good, you don’t need another. The breathtaking views which surround this campground include not only rock formations but also various desert flora, including yucca and prickly pear. There are 51 campsites, and it’s best to reserve one ahead of time as this is a popular camping spot. There are no hookups, but potable water, picnic tables, and flush toilets are all located on-site. 


A golf ball on a tee.

You can even enjoy golfing at Wasatch Mountain State Park.



9. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

The spectacular Grand Staircase of cliffs and terraces, the rugged Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Escalante River Canyons make up this National Monument. It’s a rich historical and geological area, covered in monoliths, slot canyons, and natural bridges and arches. All these geological phenomena make the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument one of the premier places to camp in Utah. 

Hike through 250 million years of Earth’s geologic history, and wind between the technicolor cliffs of the monument. Hiking and sightseeing in Utah can’t be bettered, this 1 million-acre area has it all. The popular but small Calf Creek Campground is our recommendation in this National Monument. Here there are 13 first-come-first-served campsites, where you can spend a quiet and peaceful night amongst the red rocks. Another benefit to camping here is the proximity to Calf Creek, a perennial waterfall which makes another great sightseeing opportunity. 


10. Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley is named after an area where soft sandstone has eroded into irregular and interesting patterns, which some think resemble goblins. In some places, these formations are close together and form a maze, which is lots of fun to explore with the family. For thrill-seeking campers, ATV trails weave around this interesting and surreal landscape, where Hollywood movie Galaxy Quest was filmed. 

This Utah campground offers slightly more luxury than others, as there are two spacious yurts available to rent. These come complete with heating and air conditioning, so your trip to Goblin Valley State Park can be one done in style. Otherwise, there are ten tent camping sites, and 14 camping spots for RVs. 



11. Canyonlands National Park

Near the town of Moab in southeastern Utah is Canyonlands National Park. Numerous canyons, mesas, and buttes were eroded here by the Colorado River and the Green River eons ago. Now, the colorful landscape is divided into four districts each retaining its own character. 

The Needles District is one of these, where colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone dominate the area. A fantastic location for hiking and overnight camping trips, these rock formations are also excellent for bouldering. There are so many locations for climbing as well as bouldering scattered all around, so for campers in search of an adventure holiday, consider bouldering in Canyonlands National Park.

Squaw Flat Campground is the ideal base from which to explore this district, with miles of trails for hiking and leading to rock climbs close at hand. There are 26 sites, 5 of which are tent only, with toilets, picnic tables and fire rings located within the campground. There are no electric hookups at this campsite, so come prepared with your climbing gear too.


Arches National Park, Moab, USA.

The Landscape Arch is the biggest in North America, one of many attractions in the Devil’s Garden.


Final Verdict:

Aside from the bustle of Salt Lake City, there are so many natural wonders to explore in Utah. The Grand Canyon is close by, but don’t be tempted to cross over state borders when the equally breathtaking Canyonlands, Arches, and Zion National Parks are waiting to be explored. The isolation and peacefulness of these areas mean you can light a campfire under the night sky and stargaze for hours, meanwhile, the towering and dramatic rock formations create exciting adrenaline-pumping rock climbing opportunities. 

There are RV parks, tent sites, and even yurts to rent in Utah’s parks and forests. No matter your requirements, we’ve got the perfect camping area for your next trip. Mountain biking and equestrian camping are best in Wasatch Mountain State Park, where other recreation opportunities include an impressively sided award-winning golf course. 

Canyons, of course, are very important to the natural landscape in Utah, with these iconic red rocks holding fame around the world. For the best viewing, visit Bryce Canyon National Park and Goblin Valley State Park. Bouldering and climbing fans should visit the Needles District of Canyonlands, not far from Moab, and great for hiking too!

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has endless geological phenomena to view, so any camper with a true interest in our natural environment can’t miss it. The Calf Creek Campground here is so close to the waterfall that it’s a waste not to make the most of it. 

The best camping in Utah is well within your reach, all you need to do is jump up and get adventuring! If camping in Utah will be your first time, you’re in for a treat. Utah holds some of the best camping destinations in the United States, so after you’ve picked one out, check out our handy guide on camping gear for beginners. The more you are prepared, the more likely your camping trip is to go off like a dream.


Bonus tip: Check out this video to see some bouldering in Canyonlands


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How The Annual REI Dividend Works



rei annual dividend explained

What is the REI Dividend?

The dividend is a sum of money that is awarded back to REI co-op members every year. The amount of money is based on two primary factors: a percentage of all eligible purchases made by a member and any rewards they accrued on their REI Mastercard during the previous year. You can think of it a bit like a tax return and purchasing points on your credit card — only instead of frustrating points, it’s just money. You can also get any unused amount of the previous year’s dividend added onto the next one, but this isn’t always the case.

REI is short for Recreational Equipment Incorporated, an American company that offers outdoor gear, as well as courses and vacation options.

If you aren’t familiar with their brand, they are known for having high quality and ranked highly in the review of the top tent brands on the market.

What sets it apart from other outdoor retailing competitors is that it follows the co-op business model. That means they offer a wide range of perks to their members, one of the most unique of which is their annual dividend. Since this is such an unusual benefit to the company, understanding the ins and outs can be difficult. So, here are some answers to many of the FAQs people have when talking about the REI annual dividend program.


REI, also know as Recreation Equipment International, is well-know for its outdoor supplies.

How do you earn the dividend?

First of all, only REI co-op memberships can earn a dividend. The good news is that being a member of the REI co-op is both inexpensive and easy. To become an REI member, all you have to do is go here and sign up for a lifetime membership. The upfront, one-time membership fee is only 20$, and there isn’t even an annual fee to keep your membership. However, only members that are considered active receive a dividend notice.

To be an active member of REI, all you have to do is spend at least 10$ merchandise in a year, unless it is the year that you first sign up. If you ever lose active status, getting it back is as easy as to resume making REI purchases.

REI Members earn toward their annual dividend by making eligible purchases. Almost any merchandise you buy directly through REI is considered eligible as long as you are purchasing full-price items. This includes the physical REI stores or through One notable exception is that gift cards do not count toward your REI dividend. However, when you use a gift card to make purchases, that can be considered eligible as long as it otherwise would be.

The percentage that goes back into your dividend varies depending on how well the company did financially the previous year, but it tends to be around 10%. The calculation is made based on the product price alone, so sales tax and any other fees such as postage are not counted.

Unfortunately, none of REI’s experience purchases are considered eligible. This means that classes, special events, and the popular REI Adventures don’t get counted into your annual dividend. Service charges don’t count either, so rentals and labor fees are not factored into the dividend. The initial membership fee also is not eligible.

Any returns you make are removed from your dividend amount in the final calculation, and if it has already been calculated, then the dividend amount counts against the return amount you would receive. 

You can also receive a retroactive addition to your dividend based on eligible purchases you made at other retailers on REI merchandise, as long as it was in the same year. For example, if you bought backpacking equipment from Amazon that was the REI brand, then you can get that counted. You’ll just need to have your receipt handy to answer some information about the purchase. You cannot get retroactive additions to your annual dividend if the purchase was made before you became an REI member, though.

There is a slight workaround with the discounted merchandise, though. Members can receive an REI co-op Mastercard. As mentioned earlier, this has a built-in rewards system. One such reward is that when you use the REI credit card to purchase sale items, then you receive a 5% kickback into your dividend. It’s a much lower percentage than what you would expect to receive from a normal eligible purchase. However, savvy shoppers will be able to notice when the reduced pricing and smaller kickback turns out to be a better long-term value. 


When would I receive my REI dividend?

If you’re an REI member and have a balance, you’ll receive a dividend notice in March of the next year. All purchases you make from January 1st to December 31st are considered part of the same annual sum and will be available until January of two years later. So, if you made purchases throughout 2020, you’ll be able to use your dividend from them starting March 2021, and you’ll have the money available to you until you either spend it all or until the first day of 2023. This, however, is only the case if you don’t accrue any more dividends. Assuming you constantly make enough eligible purchases and spend roughly however much you earn from the program each year, your dividend balance should never expire.


Buying equipment from REI with an REI Mastercard is a great way to earn points towards your dividend.


So what can I do with the dividend?

This question is best answered with another question: “How do you want to spend your money?” For anyone who has ever been frustrated with trying to redeem credit card points or dealing with the restrictions of store credit, you are going to be blown away by the range of options REI gives you when it comes to your member dividend.


Use the dividend as store credit

The most basic option available to you is to use your dividend like store credit. If you can find it on the REI website, then you can buy it with your store credit. If your dividend balance doesn’t completely cover the total price of your purchases at checkout, don’t worry. It will still get deducted from the price and you’ll only have to pay for whatever is leftover.

If you’re near one of their physical REI stores, then you’ll be able to use your dividend to directly buy available outlet items from their stores. Your dividend works at every REI store location, so you won’t have to worry about not being able to access it if you’re shopping far from home. Just be sure to have your co-op member number ready. 

Even though buying them doesn’t sound toward your dividend, you can put your earnings on it toward booking an REI Adventure. If you’re a hardcore outdoors enthusiast, then you might be able to generate enough of a dividend to book a trip to a national park at no out-of-pocket expense.

If you aren’t quite that adventurous but still would like a fun experience, then look at spending your dividend on one of the many REI classes. There is something to learn for everyone. From riding a bike to navigating the backcountry, the basics of rock climbing to dozens of stewardship opportunities,  it’d be hard not to spend part of your dividend on enriching yourself with the REI classes.

You can also download the REI mobile apps. These make it even easier to shop with REI in general, but they can streamline the process of using your dividend in the online store.


Receive the dividend as a check

If you’d rather take the money that REI has awarded to you elsewhere, then you can request to have your dividend amount in the form of a check.

There are a couple of ways to go about getting the check. The most direct way is to go to a physical REI outlet once you have received a notice of a dividend balance. If you are not anywhere near an REI store, don’t worry. You can have your check mailed to you directly by filling out their request form. Once you have the form filled out, REI will have that information in their database and can mail you the check every year without any extra work from you, should you want that

The check can only be issued to the name of the primary membership cardholder. REI does not send out checks if your annual dividend does not exceed 25$, and they do not send out a check for the REI Mastercard holder reward amount that does not exceed 1$. You can request the check whenever is convenient, but they do not begin mailing them out until July 1st. 

You don’t have to receive the whole dividend as a check. You can go ahead and spend part of it as store credit on the online store. Then, whatever amount that is leftover, you can have it sent as a check. As long as all the other requirements have been met, of course. Also, if you attempt to use any of your dividend between the time of the check being sent out and you receiving the check, then it could result in either the check being void, or you being unable to use your dividend funds at all.

If for some reason you don’t want to use the online check request form, you can also make the request over the phone or by contacting them by mail.


You can get your REI dividend in cash or in purchase credits.


Get the dividend in cash

No, that’s not a joke, and there aren’t any strings attached. You can receive your annual REI dividend, in full, as cash. There are a few hoops you have to jump through, but none of them are fine print details that are going to keep you from turning your dividend sum into cash and doing whatever you want with it.

First of all, you can’t convert your dividend into cash after July 1st of the year after you earned the dividend. This is similar to the check option. Unlike the check, there is a cut-off point at the beginning of the next calendar year, so if you wait too long then your dividend can’t be turned into cash.

This option can only be done through a physical REI store, so if you don’t live near one then you will probably have to settle for the check option. If you plan on going to a store to get your dividend as cash, it would be a good idea to call them ahead of time and try to make an arrangement. REI stores only have so much free cash on hand. 

If you don’t call ahead, you might run into a situation where the store does not have enough cash to equal the dividend balance you should receive. In these cases, co-op members are given the option to receive the check. For some, that is a fine alternative, but people dead-set on getting cash should be aware of this.

One other thing to note is that the cash option is based on a specific year’s balance. This means, like the check option, if you spend any of your dividend funds as credit first, that would result in you receiving less cash in the end. Also, unlike the store credit option, you can’t compound years together. Since the years have cutoff dates that line up to where there is never an overlapping period between them, you’ll only be able to get your cash balance one year at a time, rather than building it across up to 3 years.


Can I check my dividend balance?

Yes! At any point, you can go to, and enter the name on your membership card along with your member number, and they will be able to tell you the dividend balance. This is not updated in real-time, so if you have been roughly keeping track and the amount looks odd when you check it, don’t worry. Most likely, it is just in the middle of being exactly calculated by members of the REI team.


Is the annual dividend the only benefit of Coop Membership?

Not at all! You’ve already read a bit about the REI Coop Mastercard and its reward system. You get 5% back with any REI purchases, 2% back through mobile transactions, and 1% everywhere else. This is all factored into your annual dividend along with all the usual 10% kickback from buying normal priced items. This means that anything you use the card on, even bills and groceries, is factored into your dividend.

Members get access to special pricing on certain items through REI. These are usually on things like classes and tours, as well as rentals on any outdoor equipment. This can be frustrating since the specially priced experiences aren’t dividend eligible purchases. Though, with dividend earnings and special pricing, it is easy to earn enough to pick up enough to pay for a class or two. 

Members-only events are probably the second-best part of being a member after the dividend. Some of the most popular of these events are new member-exclusive hiking trips or member gatherings to try out local brews. Without a doubt, Garage Sales are the star of members-only events.

The REI Garage Sales are hosted at REI outlet stores every so often. The merchandise of the Sales is made up of returns and other used goods, and come at a heavily discounted price. The products are as-is, and cannot be accepted for returns as of their return policy. Since the merchandise is on a case-by-case basis with the outlets, REI cannot guarantee specific inventory. All Garage Sales operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. Garage Sale purchases cannot be put toward your annual dividend unless they are purchased with the members’ Mastercard. Though, the products are usually so aggressively marked down that it usually makes up for it. Plus, the Garage Sale merchandise is evaluated beforehand to assure that there are no major issues with it, so you don’t have to worry about the quality with the low prices.


Final Verdict:

The annual dividend is a unique benefit of being a member of REI’s coop. It saves the frustration associated with other rewards programs by just allowing the members to claim a monetary incentive. It is both pleasantly simple, offers multiple options to use your dividend as you see fit, and a great tool for people that love to maximize value in their shopping.

There are some ins and outs with the membership program to remember how to get the most out of the dividend. Though, remembering these details is more of a bonus than a requirement to earn on the dividend properly, unlike other rewards programs. On top of all that, you get several more awesome benefits for a single 20$ purchase. 


Bonus tip: Here’s a video from REI talking about the essential items for backpacking, which are available on their website: 


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Outdoor Blog

Learn How To Identify 12 Types Of Trees



Tree species are such a common form of plant life that they often go unnoticed in our daily lives. Generally speaking, as they don’t have finite lifespans, trees live much longer than other plant life. Some tree species can even live for thousands of years. Trees are no stranger to our planet — they have been around for nearly 370 years. Currently, planet Earth is home to more than 60,000 types of trees that play a vital role in the life we know and enjoy.

One of the first things children learn about in school is how common trees supply us with the oxygen we need to breathe. Our survival depends on plant life around the world continuing to thrive, including underwater vegetation, grasslands, and the approximate 3 trillion types of trees which currently grow on our planet. Learning how to identify tree species can be an important skill, similar to knowing how to start a campfire when it comes to outdoor survival. 

Throughout this article, we’re going to clarify and define what exactly a tree is and introduce you to the different categories that common trees fall under. We’ll also take a closer look at the most common types of trees that you’ll most likely come across, and explain how you can identify them correctly. Different types of trees have different types of leaves and bark that are characteristics of certain tree species. If you can spot the differences, then you’re a step closer in your quest of becoming a tree identification master. Now, let’s begin by differentiating between the two primary types of trees: deciduous trees and evergreen trees.

Related: The 10 best outdoor antenna’s for camping and rural areas

A field with a tree sunset.

All trees are either deciduous trees or evergreen trees.

What defines a common tree? 

In botany (the study of plants), trees are defined as perennial plants with an elongated trunk or stem which supports leaves and branches(Perennial plants live for multiple years, as opposed to annual plants which have a life-cycle of only one season.) However, this is a slightly limited definition, as the term “tree” can be extended to include any woody plant with branches and a trunk that grows significantly taller than the plants around it. 

Tree branches are supported by a large and strong trunk, which extends underground. Beneath, the trunk extends into widely-spread roots which collect nutrients and moisture and provide support to the tree species above ground. The branches which extend from the top of the trunk divide into smaller shoots, which spread to produce leaves. Leaves collect sunlight, converting it into energy via photosynthesis, in order to feed and grow. 

The trunk of a common tree is the strongest part, made from a woody tissue that supports the weight of the canopy. Tree trunks also contain vascular tissue, which carries nutrients from one part of the plant to another. Most types of trees also have a layer of bark around the trunk that acts as a protective shield. Although these are the general characteristics that fit every type of tree, tree species vary. 

There are two primary categorizations that all tree species fit into. The difference between these two categories is the first thing you need to spot in order to properly identify common trees. Most people already recognize the distinction between these different types of trees, but we’ll still go into detail about how you can identify them. Read on to discover which types of trees lose their leaves, and which tree species remain green all year round.

Deciduous Trees Vs. Coniferous Trees

Every single one of the thousands of tree species found on our planet fits into one of these two categories: coniferous trees (evergreen trees) or deciduous trees. Deciduous trees lose their broad leaves at a specific time of the year, typically fall or autumn. The word ‘deciduous’ literally means “to fall off at maturity”. As such, the leaves of these trees have an annual life cycle. In the spring, new leaves grow and quickly mature into broad leaves, green in color. Over time, they slowly change color leading to the wonderful fall color palette we all recognize and love, before falling to the moist soil. 

This is the case with the most common trees in North America, Europe, and other countries with a mild climate. In hotter tropical countries, deciduous trees lose their greenery during the dry season. Once the leaves have fallen, these trees remain bare wood skeletons until new leaf shoots begin to grow in the spring. Most deciduous trees are broadleaf, with wide, flat, green leaves. 

Coniferous trees, otherwise known as evergreen trees, keep their leaves all year round. No matter the season, evergreen trees are unchanging in appearance. This type of tree often has needle-shaped leaves, which withstand the cold temperatures better than more delicate broadleaf types of trees. Evergreen tree landscapes are especially stunning in the winter months when all other plant life looks dead. 

deciduous vs coniferous trees

Tree Identification: Basic Leaf Types

There are three different types of leaves that evergreen trees and deciduous trees can have. Broadleaves is a wide term that encompasses leaves of all shapes and sizes — so long as they are flat. Almost all deciduous trees have broad leaves: they can be oval, round, heart-shaped, and much more. The maple leaf of the red maple tree is an iconic shape that we all know. The term ‘Broadleaves’ encompasses much more than just common tree species, it also includes a huge range of different plant life. 

Most people will recognize common tree needles thanks to Christmas trees — many evergreen trees feature this shape. Common tree needles are long and thin and typically grow together in clusters or sparsely depending on the tree species. Evergreen trees lose their needles over time, however, this process doesn’t happen all at once as is usually the case with deciduous trees. Instead, the needles are lost and replaced gradually; similar to how humans lose hair. The third category of leaves that some coniferous trees exhibit is scale-like leaves. We see these on common trees such as Juniper trees and cedar trees, where the needles resemble the scales of a reptile.

A maple leaf in the rain.

The distinctive shape of the maple leaf makes this red maple tree easy to identify. 

12 Common Types of Trees and How To Identify Them 

Tree Species: Maple Trees

Maple trees are a common tree species found across Europe, North America, and Asia. They belong to the genus Acer family and are commonly associated with Canada — just look at the maple leaf on the Canadian flag. There are more than one hundred species of maple trees, the most common in Europe being the sycamore maple tree. Red maple, sugar maple, and silver maple are also common tree species you’ll commonly see in the countryside. Japanese maple trees are a common choice for bonsai where a small tree is groomed and maintained to resemble a miniature replica. 

Maple trees are famous for the sweet syrup made from their sap, which is a big reason why maple trees are often farmed in North America. Maple trees are a hardwood tree species. Its timber is often used to make baseball bats and musical instruments. The easiest way to identify a maple tree is by its distinct leaf shape, which is the same across all maple tree species. Maple trees can be small trees, reaching only 10 meters in height, or large trees more than 40 meters tall.

maple tree

Tree Species: Oak Trees

Oak trees are one of the most common tree families across the world; their wood is very hard and durable and resistant to most diseases. Oak trees come from the genus Quercus of which there are over 90 different species in the United States alone. They have been one of the most prized trees for building material for centuries, and are used in all kinds of industries, including musical instrument production. As there are more than 300 known oak tree species globally, when it comes to tree identification, it helps to break them down into further categories. 

White oaks feature round broad leaves and produce sweet acorns that take a year to mature. Black (or red) oak trees have bristles on their leaves and produce bitter-tasting acorns. The acorns from a red oak take two years to mature and are referred to as biennial oak trees. By identifying the maturity of the acorns on an oak tree, you can tell which type of oak tree it is. Most oak tree species are deciduous tree species, however, there are a handful of evergreen oak trees. The easiest way to identify an oak tree is by its acorns — all oak trees carry this fruit. The leaves of oak trees are lobed, with either rounded or pointed tips.

Oak Trees

Tree Species: Sycamore Trees

Try not to get the sycamore maple confused with true sycamore trees — they’re only related by name. The sycamore is a large hardwood tree in the genus Platanus and is a deciduous tree species by nature. The wood from these trees is incredibly hard and dense, and therefore it’s not commonly used as a building material. Sycamores can grow up to 40 meters and are one of the easiest types of trees to identify when it comes to tree identification.  

You can spot a sycamore tree by examining its bark. Don’t be misled by its leaves, which look similar to a maple leaf tree species. Instead, look at the color of the trunk. True sycamore trees have flaky bark which gives the trunk a red and brown multi-colored appearance, often featuring patches of white and grey. The Sycamore is a broadleaf tree species. You can identify them by their leaves which have three to five lobes with toothed edges.

A sycamore tree.

Sycamore trees are very large trees, with hard, dense wood. 

Tree Species: Pine Trees

Pine trees are another common tree found all around the world. This evergreen tree family of the genus Pinus is probably the most easily recognizable coniferous tree species in the world. The pine tree is a common ornamental tree with softwood. Pine tree leaves consist of clusters of green needles. This tree species is also easily identifiable by its hard cones, often referred to as pine cones. White pine and red pine are two common trees of this tree species and can be found throughout Canada, the United States (North America in general), and Europe. 

Pine trees are amongst the easiest tree species when it comes to tree identification. Pine trees are generally large trees that stand straight with needles that are mostly concentrated towards the top. Some species of pine trees can even grow up to 81 meters tall — they do it quickly, too. As pine trees grow into large trees so quickly, they’re incredibly useful when it comes to construction and furniture production. The softwood of the pine tree is easy to work with and features an attractive grain.

pine tree

Tree Species: Fir Trees

Fir trees, such as the balsam fir, Fraser fir, and noble fir, are all popular festive choices. This evergreen tree family is of the genus Abies and contains approximately 50 different species of tree. Fir trees are closely related to the genus Cedrus, or cedar trees. Fir trees have a much denser needle distribution than pine trees, giving them a fuller and greener appearance. 

Fir needles are soft and flat and tend to have two white stripes at the bottom of each needle. As they grow, fir tree cones tend to be green, purple, or blue and turn a golden brown as the tree matures. You can easily spot a fir tree as its cones grow upwards, whereas other coniferous trees have downward-pointing cones.

fir tree

Tree Species: Elm Trees

Elm trees are a common tree found mostly in forests and can be classed as either deciduous or semi-deciduous. There are about 35 different types of tree species within the Ulmus genus, including the American elm and the European elm. Elm trees are another ornamental tree species that are not generally appreciated for their wood or fruit. Elms are hardwood trees and therefore difficult to work with as a building material. 

You can identify an elm tree by its leaves, which are technically classed as broadleaf. There is quite a range of different leaves that grow on elm tree species, but they all have the same pointed oval shape. Elm tree leaves range between 7 and 16 cm long. Unfortunately, a pandemic of Dutch Elm tree disease wiped many elm trees from our streets and forests. However, conservation efforts are well on their way and the American Elm tree species is in revival.


elm tree

Tree Species: Willow Trees

Willow trees have some of the most distinctive shapes out of any tree in the world; their long drooping branches have a dramatic and striking appearance. There are approximately 400 species of willow trees and they are all deciduous trees. Willow trees can be small tree-like shrubs or grow to be medium-height. Willow tree leaves are always elongated ovals, but their color varies between species. Black willow trees feature dark, furrowed bark. 

Willow tree leaves can be green, yellow, or blue in hue, making these breathtaking trees even more beautiful. The wood from willow trees can be used to make wicker baskets and similar items, due to their long, soft, and flexible branches. Willow trees are arguably the easiest tree species to identify, as no other type of tree has anything comparable to its low sweeping branches. When temperatures drop in the fall, willow trees are among the last to lose their leaves.

Willow trees.

Willow trees are easy to identify from their long, drooping branches. 

Tree Species: Magnolia Trees

When people choose a tree to plant in their garden, Magnolias are an obvious choice. The Magnolia family contains both deciduous trees and evergreen types of trees, which can grow in a huge range of environments. These trees produce large fragrant flowers and cones of fruit that look like berries. In terms of tree identification, all types of the Magnolia tree are broadleaf. 

Magnolias are medium-sized trees, they grow fast and have softwood. As there’s quite a large variation in leaf size and shape in magnolias, the easiest way to identify this tree species is by the fruit. As their cone-shaped seed pods are unique in comparison to other types of trees, if you can spot these, you’ll know if your tree is a part of the magnolia family.

Magnolia Tree

Tree Species: Birch Trees

Birch trees, of the genus Betula, are a type of tree family containing about 60 species of hardwood trees. Often, the wood from birch trees is used as firewood or for making furniture. Birch tree bark is papery, often white or silver in color, and is its most identifiable feature. The branches of birch trees are long, and droop slightly, holding small, thin, triangular leaves. Oil extracted from birch trees can be used in both cooking and medicine. Birch trees are some of the most common trees on the planet with small leaves.

Birch Trees

Tree Species: Tulip Trees

The tulip tree is not actually related to the flower that shares its name. It’s called so because of its attractive yellow-green flowers. The softwood of the tulip tree is attractive but weak. For this reason, it’s often used for aesthetic purposes rather than construction. When a tulip tree is young, the bark is brown or ashy gray. As the tree matures, the color will darken, however rich and moist soil is necessary for this. 

The leaves of a tulip tree are almost rectangular in shape, featuring 4 to 6 lobes which can be up to 15 cm in length. Tulip trees bloom before their leaves grow, meaning once spring rolls around, their large leaves hide their blooming flowers. This distinctive feature makes the tulip tree easy to identify — try focusing on the leaves and the orange-yellow flowers.

Tulip Tree

Tree Species: Butternut Trees

If you’ve ever seen a tree species with what appears to be small green balls growing among its leaves, then you may be looking at a Juglans Cinerea. The butternut tree is a slow-growing,  deciduous tree that’s native to Canada and the United States. It grows in moist soil and has edible nuts that resemble green balls. You can easily identify this type of tree by its light grey bark, which gets rougher in texture with age. This large-leafed tree has no stems — its pointed leaves grow directly from the branch.

Butternut Tree

Tree Species: Cedar Trees 

Cedar trees are large trees from the Pinaceae family that can reach a towering 50 meters. Cedar trees are often used as ornamental trees and also make popular bonsai trees. This kind of tree is also a popular choice of men’s fragrance. In the United States, many of the trees that we refer to as cedar trees, such as the eastern red cedar (found in the Rockies of Colorado), are actually Juniper trees from the family Juniperus. When it comes to tree identification, cedar trees are pretty straightforward as they are one of the few kinds of trees with scaled leaves. In addition, their foliage is either dark green or bluish in color and grows in spiral clusters.

Cedar forest trees at night.

Cedar tree forests are some of the most beautiful natural spaces in the United States. 

Final Verdict

Throughout this article, we’ve identified 12 of the most common types of trees from across the United States and the world. Using this knowledge, you should now be able to accurately identify several of these tree species. Some of the more common tree families we didn’t cover include ash trees, hawthorn, larch, black walnut, hickory, hemlock, dogwood, walnut trees, and other species of the genus Picea. Although they’re beautiful tree species, they’re not as common as the trees that made our list. From butternut trees with green balls to huge weeping willow trees, it is our sincere hope that you enjoy identifying tree species as much as we do.


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Outdoor Blog

How to Keep Snakes Away from Your Campsite (Stay Safe!)



Having a phobia of snakes is a common fear among people and some research suggests that it may even be an instinctive fear present at birth. Regardless of the reason, encountering a snake at your campsite is not a pleasant experience and can be intimidating, especially if you’re in an area where snakes are native.

While it’s not always possible to completely avoid snake encounters while camping, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of an encounter and to be prepared if one does occur.

One important thing to consider when it comes to snake prevention is the choice of campsite.

Where do rattlesnakes like to hide?

Snakes tend to prefer certain types of environments, and if you can avoid camping in these areas, you’ll be less likely to encounter snakes. For example, you should avoid camping next to rock piles or outcrops, as these can provide snakes with plenty of hiding spots.

Similarly, areas with heavy brush or deadfall should also be avoided, as these can also provide snakes with plenty of hiding places. Additionally, it’s a good idea to avoid camping directly next to water sources, as snakes often use these areas to hunt and to travel.


10 Do’s and Dont’s on how to keep rattlesnakes away:

  1. DO stay calm if you encounter a rattlesnake. Rattlesnakes are more likely to bite if they feel threatened, so try to keep your distance and avoid making sudden movements.

  2. DO keep an eye out for rattlesnakes while hiking or camping, especially in areas where they are known to inhabit. Look for warning signs such as a rattle sound, a V-shaped indentation in the ground, or the shed skin of a rattlesnake.

  3. DO wear sturdy boots and long pants while hiking or camping in areas where rattlesnakes are present. This will help protect your feet and legs from a bite.

  4. DO be aware of your surroundings when hiking or camping. Avoid stepping on or near rocks, logs, or other objects that could be hiding places for rattlesnakes.

  5. DON’T try to handle a rattlesnake, even if it seems docile. These snakes are venomous and can be dangerous if not handled properly.

  6. DON’T try to capture or kill a rattlesnake. This can be dangerous and is generally not necessary.

  7. DON’T attempt to play with or tease a rattlesnake. These snakes are not toys and can be very dangerous if provoked.

  8. DON’T leave food or trash out in areas where rattlesnakes are known to inhabit. This can attract rodents, which are a food source for rattlesnakes.

  9. DON’T try to move a rattlesnake out of your way. If you encounter a rattlesnake on a hiking trail or campsite, give it plenty of space and allow it to move on its own.

  10. If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, DON’T try to treat the bite yourself. Seek medical attention immediately, as rattlesnake bites can be serious and require medical treatment.



So, what is the best type of campsite for avoiding snakes?

Generally speaking, an open area with short grass is your best bet. Snakes are secretive creatures and tend to avoid being out in the open, so if you can camp in an area with plenty of open space, you’ll be less likely to encounter them.

It’s also a good idea to choose a campsite that is well-lit at night, as this will make it easier to see any snakes that might be passing through. If your campsite allows it, lighting a fire can also be a good tactic to deter snakes, as well as rodents, which are attractive to snakes as a food source. Just be sure to handle firewood carefully, as it can be a prime hiding spot for snakes.

Another important aspect of snake prevention is food storage. While snakes don’t generally have much interest in human food, they do prey on smaller animals such as mice and birds, which are attracted to food scraps and trash.

How do you keep snakes away?

To prevent attracting snakes to your campsite, it’s important to store food and trash properly. This means sealing trash bags and disposing of them properly, being conscious of dropping crumbs and cleaning utensils thoroughly after use, and storing leftover food in airtight containers away from your tent. If possible, you should also store food in an elevated area, such as a tree branch, to further protect it from rodents. Additionally, it’s a good idea to pack away anything on the floor when you leave the campsite, such as picnic blankets and tarpaulin, as snakes can use these items as hiding places.

Even if you take steps to avoid snakes and prevent attracting them to your campsite, it’s still important to be prepared in case you do encounter one. If you do see a snake, the most important thing to do is to keep your distance and let it pass.


It’s important to remember that most snakes are not aggressive and will only bite as a defense mechanism. If you give them plenty of space and allow them to move on, they’ll likely do so without incident. However, if you do come across a venomous snake, it’s especially important to keep your distance and avoid trying to handle it. If you are bitten by a venomous snake, seek medical attention immediately.

To prepare for the possibility of a snake encounter, it’s a good idea to do regular checks of your tent and gear. Make sure there are no holes in your tent and that all zips are shut, as snakes can sometimes find their way inside through small openings. Additionally, inspect your gear and gear storage areas before use to make

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