Tree Hugging and Forest Bathing in the Mountains of Southern California

Here in Southern California, there’s only one place to engage in full-on tree hugging and forest bathing therapy: the mountains! Nature-lovers swear by the therapeutic effects of trees. The forest bathing movement is gaining popularity from Japan to Hollywood.

Here are some of the best spots for tree hugging in the Inland Empire and San Bernardino County regions:

San Bernardino Mountains

  • Big Bear – Known as the “big daddy” of Southern California’s mountain destinations, Big Bear is at the highest elevation, therefore getting the most snow and the most visitors. Nevertheless, once out of the populated areas like Big Bear Village, nature-lovers can find plenty of trees to hug in seclusion. Try visiting the Big Bear Zoo and surrounded areas. Also, paying a visit to Baldwin Lake Stables will get you a twofer: animals and nature! Go horseback riding and stop at the peak of the Pacific Crest Trail for fantastic views (and forests to bathe in).
  • Lake Arrowhead – Lake Arrowhead has plenty of tourist hot spots but also boasts nature trails for those who need an escape from the city and crowds. Visit the forest areas behind the Pine Rose Cabins, located just outside of Lake Arrowhead Village.  Strawberry Peak is a popular hiking spot for those who want to reach the lookout at the top and do some tree hugging along the way.
  • Crestline and Sky forest – Located just south of Lake Arrowhead, Crestline and Sky forest are great options for a walk in the woods. Also home to Lake Gregory, forest-bathers can fit in some tree hugging with lake views.

San Gabriel Mountains

  • Wrightwood – A less populated mountain town and an easy drive from SoCal’s cities, Wrightwood provides plenty of private tree-hugging opportunities from fall to winter to spring. Stop by Mountain High Ski Resort and next-door you’ll find the Blue Ridge trail located along the Pacific Crest Trail. This is an easy walkable trail for families surrounded by plenty of lovely woods. There’s also a nature trail directly across the street from Mountain High entrance which provides a simple 1-mile loop perfect for little kids who want to become one with nature.

How to Hug a Tree

  1. Find yourself a quiet park, forest, or woodland area.
  2. Walk among the trees until you feel comfortable in their presence.
  3. Feel the different bark textures with the palms of your hands.
  4. Smell the scent of the various woods.
  5. Absorb their life’s energies as you look upwards to the sprawling branches overhead.
  6. Find the perfect tree that fits your mood. You will know which one is right for you.
  7. Speak softly to the tree or communicate with it using telepathy.
  8. Vertical Tree Hug: Encircle it with your arms while gently pressing your cheek to the trunk being careful not to scratch your face. Squeeze tightly. Sigh deeply. Be one with your tree.
  9. Full Body Tree Hug: Sit upon the ground wrapping your legs around the base of the tree and at the same time embracing it with your arms.
  10. Up in the Air Tree Hug: Climb a tree. Sit upon a strong limb and straddle it with your legs. Bend forward and place your belly against it while wrapping your arms around it.

Helpful Tree Hugging Tips:

  • Feel free to hug more than one tree if the mood strikes. Besides, other trees might get jealous.
  • You may like to take home a fallen leaf or nut as a keepsake from your new friend.
  • Be sure to return each season to visit your tree.
  • Trees are good listeners so feel free to talk to them.
  • Take a child along with you on your next “tree hugging nature adventure.”

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