Semnan 03 Jun 2024 BY Maryam Mahmoudian

Cloud Forest in Iran: A Rare Phenomenon

Fluffy clouds hang so low in Iran's Cloud Forest, you feel like you could reach out and touch them. Lush green trees grow right out of the clouds, creating a magical jungle floating in the sky.

This is Jangal-e Abr, Iran's breathtaking cloud forest, a place where you feel like you're walking on clouds.

As you walk through this amazing place, cool air and the sweet smell of earth fill your senses. Sunlight peeks through the clouds, creating a beautiful pattern on the ground. Birds chirp and leaves rustle, making a peaceful sound all around you.

But the Cloud Forest is more than just a beautiful sight; it's an experience that will make you feeling like you're living a dream. It's a place to reconnect with nature, to breathe in the fresh air, and to marvel at the wonders of Iran.


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The Beauty of Jangal-e Abr

The Beauty of Jangal-e Abr

On the eastern slopes of the Alborz Mountains, Jangal-e Abr, meaning "Cloud Forest," straddles the border between Semnan and Golestan provinces in northern Iran. This breathtaking forest, spanning a massive 35,000 hectares, is a part of the UNESCO-listed ancient Hyrcanian Forest, estimated to be a staggering 40 million years old, dating back to the Jurassic Age.

The southern parts of the region boast a sparse forest with a low canopy cover, gradually transitioning into a dense, lush forest with steep hills completely covered by towering ancient trees as you move north towards the heart of Jangal-e Abr. One of the most significant plants in the forest is the juniper, a species of cypress tree that contributes significantly to the forest's beauty. Other prominent species include oaks, maples, alder, zelkova, and nettle trees, alongside diverse flora like acanthophyllum, sainfoin, clover, and alopecurus.

The Beauty of Jangal-e Abr

The forest is also home to rare plants like elm, wild cherry, lindens, and taxus baccata, making it a rich source of medicinal herbs. The diverse animal life includes brown bears, wolves, leopards, wild boars, jackals, foxes, wild goats, quails, vultures, and falcons, further solidifying Jangal-e Abr's status as an untouched natural museum of both botany and wildlife.

Due to its unique characteristics and ecological significance, Jangal-e Abr was recognized as a national and natural monument of Iran, designated as a protected area.

A surreal landscape where the sky and earth merge, the cloud forest is renowned for its ethereal cloud ocean. Visitors wander through towering Hyrcanian trees, their branches enveloped in a soft, white mist, creating a dreamlike atmosphere.

| Also in Semnan: Opert Ridge


Formation of the Cloud Forest

Formation of the Cloud Forest

The ethereal atmosphere of Jangal-e Abr, perpetually shrouded in mist and clouds, is a result of a fascinating interplay of geographical and climatic factors.

Firstly, the forest's location plays a crucial role. Situated between the semi-arid province of Semnan and the Caspian Sea, it experiences a confluence of distinct climates. The cold and dry Siberian high-pressure system, hot and cold tidal winds, and moderate and humid Atlantic and Mediterranean climates all converge in this small area. This unique combination creates the perfect conditions for the constant mist and cloud cover that defines the forest.

Secondly, the lush vegetation of the forest itself contributes to the cloud formation. Trees and plants release water vapor through transpiration, a process where they release water vapor into the atmosphere through their leaves. This added moisture saturates the air, leading to the formation of clouds and mist.

Furthermore, the mountainous terrain of the region plays a role. As warm, moist air rises over the mountains, it cools and condenses, forming clouds that drape over the forest. This phenomenon is particularly pronounced in the evenings, when temperatures drop and the clouds descend, creating the illusion of walking on a fluffy cloud sea.

| Read more: Why Explore Iran's Ecotourism Wonders


Climate and Temperature

Climate and Temperature

Adding to the ethereal charm of Jangal-e Abr is its unique climate. The constant presence of clouds creates a refreshing coolness, even during the summer months. This is due to the forest's high altitude and its location amidst the convergence of diverse climatic influences.

The average maximum temperature in Jangal-e Abr hovers around 20 degrees Celsius, making it a welcome respite from the scorching heat experienced in other parts of Iran. Conversely, the average minimum temperature dips to a refreshing 6 degrees Celsius, creating a distinct chill in the evenings and early mornings.

| Discover: Iran's Four Seasons


Attractions and Activities of Jangal-e Abr

Maran Castle

The Abr forest offers a variety of attractions for nature enthusiasts and adventurous travelers:

  1. Maran Castle: For those seeking a historical adventure, Maran Castle sits atop a mountain within sight of the cloud forest. Reaching this ancient structure requires a local guide and proper equipment.
  2. Springs: Over 20 bubbling springs, including Qotri, Shah-Pasand and Soor spring, provide refreshing water and picturesque spots for setting up camp within the forest.
  3. Waterfalls: Within the heart of the forest, several waterfalls add to the mesmerizing scenery. The cascading Aluchal waterfall, with its two large sections merging into a single powerful stream, is a sight to behold after an hour of walking through the misty forest. For experienced climbers, the challenging Shor-shor waterfall offers a thrilling adventure.

| Suggestion: Iran's Wildlife - A Nature Lover's Guide + Pics


Attractions Near Jangal-e Abr

Attractions and Activities of Jangal-e Abr

While the cloud forest itself offers a captivating experience, the surrounding area also has a variety of attractions for curious travelers.

  1. Abr Village: Located 12 kilometers from Jangal-e Abr, this village serves as a base for many visitors exploring the forest. With its vast plain and comfortable accommodation options, it provides a welcome respite before or after your forest adventure.
  2. Shirin Abad Village: Just 7 kilometers from the cloud forest, Shirin Abad village offers a unique experience. Surrounded by clouds and boasting pristine, green landscapes, it's a short but worthwhile walk from the forest. While accommodation options are slightly less developed compared to Abr village, the opportunity to witness this dreamy village and breathe in the fresh, cloud-kissed air is truly special.
  3. Kalpush Anemone Plain: Located in Miami, Semnan Province, this area transforms into a breathtaking spectacle during spring, resembling a real-life paradise. Don't forget your camera to capture the mesmerizing beauty! Local festivals featuring music and dance often add to the charm of this scenic spot.
  4. Bazaar of Shahrud: If you're seeking a taste of local culture, the historic Bazaar of Shahrud is a must-visit. Dating back to the Qajar era, this covered market boasts stunning architecture and traditional elements like vaulted streets, caravanserais, and bathhouses.


Cloud Forest Location and Access

Cloud Forest Location and Access

Jangal-e Abr is situated on the eastern slopes of the Alborz Mountains. Accessible from both Shahroud and Azadshahr, the forest lies roughly 45 kilometers north of Shahroud. It occupies a significant portion of the border between Semnan and Golestan provinces, stretching 12 kilometers from Abr village.

The forest is bordered by various natural landmarks:

  1. North: Forests of Golestan province
  2. East: Olang region
  3. South: Mount Qasem, Mount Abr
  4. West: Mount Yakham and Tekiato


The Best Time to Visit the Cloud Forest

The Best Time to Visit the Cloud Forest

  1. Spring, Summer, and Early Autumn (May to October): This period offers the ideal conditions to witness the mesmerizing cloud ocean. The weather is pleasant, and the forest is lush and vibrant.
  2. Late Autumn and Winter (October to April): While the cloud forest retains its beauty, the colder temperatures and frequent rain can make access challenging and potentially dangerous due to slippery conditions.


Final Takeaway

The unique combination of geography, climate, and vegetation creates the magical atmosphere of Jangal-e Abr, a place where the sky and earth seem to seamlessly merge.

So, if you're ever in Iran, don't miss the chance to visit the Cloud Forest. It's a place that will leave you feeling like you're walking on clouds!

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