In the United States, National forests are an important part of the American landscape as they provide more than enough places for camping and hiking. They cover about one-third1 of the country’s landmass, providing habitats for wildlife and essential ecosystem services.

There is probably little surprise to learn that Alaska takes the top spot as the state with the most trees in the United States. But many of you might be surprised to see Texas in second and Montana in this place.

The United States forests play a vital role in capturing and storing carbon, improving air quality, moderating water flows, and providing recreational opportunities for Americans. In addition, the amount of tree cover per square mile can filter out UV rays, reducing urban heat islands.

Forests also serve as a place for spiritual renewal and relaxation, providing opportunities to spend time outdoors with family.

Although the USA doesn’t have the most trees out of any country in the world, below are the best states for trees locally.

What States Have the Most Trees?

The following table shows the states in the US with the most trees. 

Most to least trees by state

StateNumber of treesTrees Per Capita
New Mexico6,175,000,0002,945
New York4,725,000,000243
North Carolina4,650,000,000443
South Carolina3,250,000,000631
West Virginia3,000,000,0001,674

#1 Alaska

Alaska has a whopping 31.7 Million trees, which not only makes it the state with the most trees, but with so few people living there compared to other states, it has 43,401 trees for every person living there.

With 120 state parks and 3 state forests, Alaska is as wild as it gets, and I can’t see it being knocked off the top spot any time this century.

The lush forest cover in Alaska is a crucial contributor to the state’s robust ecosystem, as numerous animals rely on these woodlands for survival. The large amount of tree cover in Alaska also helps maintain a comfortable temperature year-round.

Beyond its ecological importance, Alaska’s trees also hold economic value. The state’s timber industry relies on harvesting trees for lumber and other forest products. This contributes to the state’s economy and supports local communities.

#2 Texas

Texas was a surprise to me personally as I always figured it was more desert than forests, but being such a large state the terrain changes as you move further east in the state.

With an estimated 15.6 million trees and a colossal 25 million forested acres, Texas has one of the highest tree counts for such a small percentage of the state being forested at just 37.33%.

The trees in Texas are crucial to the health of the ecosystem. Rabbits, deer, and many species of birds all rely on them as critical habitats. The woods not only help stabilize the soil but also stop erosion and keep runoff from contaminating the water supply.

Besides their ecological importance, Texas’s trees offer valuable economic benefits as the state’s forestry industry provides jobs and contributes to the economy by producing timber, wood products, and paper. The forests also offer recreational opportunities for locals and tourists, providing hiking, camping spaces, and nature appreciation.

#3 Montana

Montana has a population of just over 1 million people, but a tree population of 6.3 million trees which earns it a bronze medal for the state with the most trees.

With 54 state forests and endless streets lined with trees, it’s no wonder it came at the pointy end of the list.

Urban trees do need removal occasionally when they become a danger to residents and the cost of tree removal in Texas by local services is some of the lowest in the country at just $766, a full 12% below the national average of $871.

Montana’s forests provide valuable recreational opportunities. Residents and visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, and wildlife observation in these pristine woodlands, connecting with nature’s beauty and tranquility.

#4 Georgia

Georgia just got pipped for third place with an estimated 6.3 million trees. Just 100,000 less than Montana. Where Georgia beats the top 3 hands down is the percent of land forested coming in at a huge 67.28%. Compare that with Montana, which only has 27.45% of its land forested.

The state tree in Georgia is the Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) which comes under constant attack from Laura Wilt and Sudden Oak Death. Georgia has many invasive species, the most prominent being the Chinese Tallow Tree.

Georgia’s trees are essential to the survival of various animals, including regal white-tailed deer and brilliant migrating birds. The environment and humans benefit from these forests because they improve soil health, reduce erosion, and increase water quality.

Georgia’s trees hold economic value beyond their ecological significance. The state’s forestry industry is vital to the economy, providing jobs and producing timber and wood products. The forests also provide recreational havens for outdoor enthusiasts, providing opportunities for camping, hiking, and nature appreciation.

#5 New Mexico

New Mexico also slipped into 5th spot with an estimated 6.1 million trees. With over 24,000,000 forested acres, New Mexico really is a green state. There are 2,945 trees per capita scattered across 7 state parks and 25 state forests.

The Piñon Pine (Pinus edulis) can be found in most state forests and is the state tree. With less than 1% of the country’s population living in New Mexico at just over 2 million there are 10 times more trees than people.

1 Sources

  1. Alex, (2017) The forest cover of the United States mapped. <> Accessed: 13-02-2024.
Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.