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35 Words to Describe a Forest Well in a Novel

35 Words to Describe a Forest Well in a Novel

A huge part of writing a novel is using the best words to describe various settings to bring your story to life. If you have a scene set in a forest, your words to describe a forest must reflect everything the characters (if any) can see or feel, or should paint a vivid picture of the setting.

But that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Everyone gets stuck sometimes and finding the best words to describe the simplest of things can take some time.

In this post, we’re going to focus on a popular scene that can be tricky to describe for some: the forest. Here are 35 of the best words to describe a forest well in a novel:


6 words for a forest at night (black forest)

Scenes take place in the forest at night for various reasons. Perhaps you want to create suspense or mystery.
A forest at night can also be used to create drama or romance. However, if you don’t have the best words to describe a forest at night, your delivery is sure to fall flat.
Here are 6 words to describe a forest at night:

One of the best words to describe a forest at night is dark. The word dark means there’s little to no light, as you would expect from a forest in the night.
Here’s one way you can use the word dark to describe a forest:
“When she emerged from the cabin, she found herself in a dark forest.”


gray scale photo of trees and pathway
Photo by Simon Berger on unsplash


You may use the word dusky to describe a forest that is lit by fireflies or other light sources like the stars. This is different from a dark forest that is almost entirely devoid of light.
This is how you can say it:
“Were it not for the bright moon in the night sky, he would have lost his way in this dusky forest.”


The word foreboding refers to the feeling you get when you think something bad is going to happen. This may be used to describe a forest in the dead of night when it is less predictable, and there’s no one around.
This is an example of how you can use this word:
“She entered the dark, foreboding forest in the hope she could find her son who had disappeared from her side.”


Use this word to describe a dark forest that is still lively during the night with creatures such as owls, fireflies, wolves, bats and rats.
Here’s how you can use it:
“As the day wound down to night, the nocturnal forest and its second shift started to stir.”



The forest can be a scary place, especially at night when it becomes harder to see and there are sounds of rustling from the animals that reside within it. This is a good word to use if your novel is in the horror or thriller genre.
Here’s what you can say:
“The sounds of the bats overhead startled her as she hurried through the scary forest.”


dark forest photo tall trees
Photo by Rosie Fraser on unsplash


Trees, stones and creatures within the forest cast shadows whenever it gets dark. This is a perfect word to use if you want to paint a picture of shadows in a forest.
This is one way you can do it:
“She had walked this path in the shadowy forest before, but never at night, so she was startled by how different it all looked.”


6 words to describe a forest in winter (white forest)

Forests in winter are truly a sight to behold, especially when they are blanketed by a cover of white snow. A white forest may be used to portray purity or light.
A white forest may also be used to portray isolation or emptiness. Here are 6 words to describe a forest based on what you wish to portray:

This is a good word to use for a forest that is not full of life because of the low temperatures during winter. In other words, the forest is cold and inhabitable.
Use it in this way:
“The search party canvassed the bitter winter forest in hopes of finding a trace of Darleen.”


gray scale photo of trees on snow

Image from Pixabay under pexels license


White is a reflective surface, which means that when the moonlight and starlight hit the white forest, it will shine bright. Luminous is good to use when you wish to create a magical atmosphere.
This is one way you can say it:
“They danced in the luminous white forest as the stars twinkled above their heads.”


Use the word majestic if you want to portray a winter forest that is both beautiful and vast. It helps to paint the picture of a glowing, peaceful forest.
Here’s one way you can say it:
“The majestic forest that bordered the town was a popular hangout spot for young lovers and children alike.”


aerial photography of train rail between winter trees

Photo by Denis Linine under pexels license


During the winter, most trees have already shed their leaves, and many trees are barren. The ground may also have reduced shrubbery and less animal activity. The word naked is perfect for describing a winter forest in this state.
Here’s one example of the word naked being used to describe such a forest:
“The naked forest was a stark contrast to what I experienced in the spring.”


The word shivering is perfect for a winter forest because it speaks to the cold weather and the motion of the leaves and branches as the breeze passes through them. It may also be used to allude to the barren trees that no longer have their leaves to figuratively warm them.
Here’s an example of how this may be used:
“The harsh, shivering winter forest made it unsuitable for camping.”


Another great way to describe a winter forest is as snow-covered. Simply put, it means the snow has formed a blanket over the landscape, hiding the colors of fall, and is virtually undisturbed.
This is how you can say it:
“It was easy to get lost in the snow-covered forest, for all Henry could see was white in every direction.”


Trees covered with snow

Image from Pixabay under pexels license


6 words to describe a forest in spring (green forest)

During spring, the forest is at its busiest with creatures roaming about, and plants sprouting their blossoms. It is a period of rebirth and regrowth that may be used to set a specific mood or contrast a less favorable circumstance.
Whatever the case may be, here are 6 words to describe a forest in spring:

Use this to describe the forest just at the beginning of spring when it has started to wake up from the winter’s sleep and is about to flourish.
Here is one example of usage:
“The blossoming forest gave her hope for the year to come.”


Photo of greenfields with yellow and red flowers at daytime

Photo by Joel Holland on unsplash


Use the word fragrant to describe a forest when you wish to appeal to the reader’s sense of smell. It may also help to paint the image of various flowers or blooms.
This is what you can say:
“The deeper she went into the forest, the more fragrant it became; it was there she stumbled upon some of Mother Nature’s most prized possessions.”


lavender meadow with blossoming violet flowers

Photo by Maria Orlova under pexels license


The word full may refer to a forest that is rich in both flora and fauna. It is best used at the height of spring when all the flowers have blossomed, leaves have sprouted and shrubbery is thriving.
This is how you can say it:
“The full forest served as a reminder of how beautiful nature could be.”


The word inviting is best used when referring to a forest that is attractive, bright and full of life. In other words, it is a contrast to a dark, scary forest.
Here’s an example of how it may be used:
“It’s easy to find yourself roaming the inviting forest for hours.”



Leafy is a word that refers to forests with thick foliage, or plenty of large green leaves. This is especially common in spring.
This is how you may use this term:
“Behind his home stood the entrance of the vast leafy forest.”


gray concrete road in between tall green trees
Photo by Studio Dekorasyon on unsplash


You are likely to find more animals in spring than you do in winter. Lively is a good word to use for a green forest in the spring when animals are scurrying about.
Here’s how you may use it:
“She hesitated about going into the forest with him at first, but she was soon enthralled by its lively nature.”


6 words about the Amazon rainforest

The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest and contains an infinite number of green trees of various shades and sizes. It is also one of the most diverse biomes on the planet.
Here are some words to describe a forest that will help you to paint an accurate picture of the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon rainforest is ancient, with most of the trees being older than the oldest humans on the planet. This is a good word to use when you want to astound your readers or create an atmosphere of reverence.
Here’s one way to do it:
“The ancient Amazon rainforest trees towered above her head, dwarfing her 6-foot frame.”


green moss on brown tree trunk

Photo by Tomas Williams under pexel license


The Amazon rainforest covers nearly half of South America, spanning numerous countries, making enormous the perfect word to describe it.
Here’s one way you can use it:
“Unlike the forests back home, the enormous Amazon rainforest is home to hundreds of tribes who rarely come in contact with each other or the outside world.”


Since the Amazon rainforest is full of large, green trees that live year-round, lush is the perfect word for describing the vegetation. It gives the reader a sense of how productive the forest is.
This is an example of usage:
“Our guide had to use his machete to cut through lush branches and grasses to clear a path for us to explore.”


aerial view of green trees and river on the middle

Photo by Ivars Utināns on unsplash


The Amazon rainforest is also renowned for high rainfall averages throughout the year. As a result, the ground is always damp. Sodden is a good word to use to describe the saturated soils and muddy forest floor.
This is one way it may be used:
“She should have listened to the local who warned her about wearing white sneakers in the sodden Amazon rainforest.”


The Amazon rainforest is located in the tropics, hence tropical is a perfect word to describe it. Tropical means that the forest is hot, wet and humid year-round.
This is one way to say it:
“As the group of scientists ventured through the tropical Amazon rainforest, they kept an eye out for poisonous insects and predators that lurk in its midst.”


Photo of a multistep waterfalls green forest

Photo by Paulius Dragunas on unsplash


Use the word unbroken when referring to the remoteness of the Amazon rainforest, and how some sections of it have not been cleared for settlements, irrigation or logging. It means that all trees are intact, and there has been little to no human interference.
Here’s one way the word unbroken may be used to describe the Amazon:
“Despite being under threat by humans, the Amazon rainforest is still home to one of the few areas of unbroken forest in the world.”


6 words to convey the atmosphere of a mysterious/deep forest

When describing a forest to an audience, you will need words to describe more than just the trees.
You also need to pay attention to the atmosphere, especially if it is mysterious or deep.
Here are some words to describe a forest based on its atmosphere

The term enchanted may be used for a forest that is simply too beautiful to be true/real. It is best used with green and white forests.
Here’s one way it may be used:
“As the clock struck 12, she made her way to the enchanted forest to meet her forbidden lover.”


brown wooden boat floating on water

Photo by Artem Sapegin on unsplash


When you are in an active forest, the atmosphere isn’t calm; instead, it is busy/industrious with leaves blowing in the wind and animals going about their day.
A good word to use to describe an active forest is bustling as it speaks to both the actions of its inhabitants and the feeling one may get while inside the forest.
This is an example of usage:
“The bustling forest and the hot summer sun made me feel alive once more.”


The word haunted describes a place that is plagued by ghosts or the supernatural. It may be used literally, but it may also be used figuratively to describe the feeling one may get.
Here’s an example of the word haunted being used:
“Growing up, we heard stories of the haunted forest, so none of us wanted to be the first to step foot into it.”


Foggy is good to use if you want to paint the image of a forest that is filled with fog or white mist. It may also be used to allude to the fact that it is dewy, wet or cold.
This is one way to say it:
“It was hard to stay on the path in the foggy forest.”


trees surrounded with fogs photo

Photo by Filip Zrnzević on unsplash


The word pathless may be used to describe the atmosphere when you wish to say the forest is confusing and dense, and as a result, it is hard to gain a sense of direction. It may also be used literally.
Here is an example of the word pathless being used to describe a mysterious/dark forest:
“His sobs were drowned by the sounds of wolves howling in the pathless forest.”


Use the word somber when you are describing a mysterious/deep forest and wish to create an atmosphere of sadness, seriousness or isolation. It may also mean the forest is dark.
This is how it may be used:
“Anne wished she hadn’t run off into the somber forest without her phone, because she found herself walking deeper and deeper into what seemed like an endless abyss of trees.”


5 words for the sounds of a forest

Lastly, using sounds will paint the ultimate picture in your readers’ heads.
Here are 5 words to describe a forest based on the sounds one may hear:

Describe the forest as alive if you wish to emphasize the bustling environment or atmosphere. In other words, there are noises made by chatter, the movement of animals, the breeze or pretty much anything you can think of that generates a sound in a forest.
Here’s one way you can use it:
“She enjoys running in the forest after lunchtime, as that is when it is most alive and the sun has moved behind afternoon clouds.”



You may use the word crackling to describe various sounds in the forest. Crackling may occur because a person or animal has stepped on a twig or some snow, or due to a forest fire in hot summer months.
Here’s one way to describe it:
“Gwen stopped suddenly when she heard crackling forest noises behind her as she tried to escape her captors.”


Did you know that people use forest sounds to fall asleep because of the harmony between the trees and the animals? Use the word harmonious when writing pleasant forest scenes, for example when birds are chirping, and there is the sound of a nearby creek and a gentle breeze.
Here is an example of the word harmonious being used:
“Peter decided to rest for a moment before continuing his journey, then ended up dozing off to the harmonious song of the forest.”


river between orange leaves body of water forest like
Photo by Emre Kuzu under pexels license


You may use the word hushed when you want to describe sounds that are far away from your location, or when the forest is still or silent.
This is what you can say:
“She tried to make out the secret, hushed forest conversation from behind the boulder, but she knew she had to go closer if she wished to hear their plot.”


The word ominous refers to the feeling one gets when something bad is about to happen. An ominous sound may indicate a treacherous environment, or fear in a character.
Here is an example of this word being used:
“As it approached night time, the once harmonious forest was filled with ominous sounds that sent chills down his spine.”



When using these words to describe a forest, ensure they complement the scene you are trying to set, rather than adding a bunch of words to fill the page, otherwise, it may be confusing for your reader.
Picture it in your head before finding the appropriate words.