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Best Places to Survive in the Wilderness (Or Build a Retreat)

In a worst-case scenario, it’s good to have the knowledge of where it might be a good location to set up camp to survive or build a survival retreat in advance. Whether it’s only for a few weeks or even many months, you want to pick a place that will support your needs when surviving in the wilderness.

To survive in the wilderness, the best place you should choose is a forested location far from any main roads. It should have an abundance of running water as well as edible plants and materials to make strong fires. Furthermore, the weather should not be too extreme.

Keep reading to learn about places that meet these criteria and have the qualities to properly support human life. If you are looking for a prime location to set up a survival retreat, this info is relevant for you as well.

Tree Coverage

Clearly, you probably want to survive in a place with high tree coverage. These areas have the most biodiversity, so you can find plants to eat more easily. Furthermore, they will have an array of wild animals that you can hunt for food. Trees will be available for you to climb if you are trying to escape an animal or see further, and they will also offer some coverage from sunlight, so you do not burn or face heat exhaustion.

Overall, forests are a great place to survive because they offer several resources while protecting you from overexposure to the elements. Waterfalls and streams often flow through forests, so you will have a fresh water source, as overexposure is one of the largest threats to outdoor survival. Forests will ensure you have shade to avoid overheating and sun to prevent sun poisoning.

Another reason you should survive in an area with trees is wood availability. If you do not have trees, you cannot have a fire, so sticks and brush are essential to survival, especially in the winter.

The Global Forest Watch Map shows areas that are the most secluded. First, it shows the amount of tree cover in different parts of the world. From this data, you can see that Canada, Alaska, the Northern part of South America, most of Russia, Ireland, the Pacific Islands, and central Africa have high tree coverage.

Top 4 Global Locations for Survival

Here are examples of a few places in the world that are prime locations to set up shop and survival in the wilderness or even build a survival retreat for when SHTF.

Appalachian Mountains

The Appalachian mountains have an abundance of quartzite, a type of flint perfect for making fires. Furthermore, you will usually be near birch trees, whose dry bark is perfect for starting a fire.

Unfortunately, most rivers and lakes in the Appalachians are not safe to drink- you should definitely boil or attempt to filter your water before you drink it. As far as food, you should find a guide that outlines the foods that are safe to eat. These mountains also have an abundance of edible beetles, termites, crickets, ants, and worms.

One of the most appealing aspects of surviving in the Appalachian mountains is the weather. It is quite mild in the summer, with hot days and cool nights. Winters will be cold and snowy, but not as bad as if you chose to be in Canada. However, the best part about living in these woods is the fall- the color change is beautiful, but the temperature will remain moderate, especially in the North Carolina section.

Ireland’s Nephin Beg Mountains

Ireland is a great place to survive in the wilderness. There are several wilderness courses and popular wilderness expeditions in which customers are taught how to survive in the wild. To ensure isolation, you will need to go deep into the woods away from these classes, but their existence demonstrates the quality of the Irish woods.

The Nephin Beg Mountains are a large mountain range in Ireland near Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park and are Ireland’s first wilderness area. For survivalists and avid hikers, this national park’s Bangor Trail is a 12-hour hike over exposed ground. Some consider the Nephin Begs as Ireland’s only true “wild area.” These mountains boast several long hiking trails but are vast enough that you can avoid these trails if you desire.

For those desiring isolation, these mountains are ideal- they are completely uninhabited and do not have any roads, so you will be isolated. Furthermore, the area is about 27,000 acres and is full of moorland, bogs, and pine and spruce forests. While water sources and wildlife are abundant, you may want to stay close to the forests to avoid overexposure, as much of these mountains involve open moores.

This area is also a fantastic place to survive in the wilderness because, in addition to its abundance of resources, it is considered a dark sky park. On a clear night, you can view thousands of stars without a telescope. Dark skies with vibrant stars and planets will keep you feeling serene and amazed during your survival journey, so you can enjoy your adventure while thriving in the wilderness.


When discussing wilderness survival, Alaska immediately comes to mind. Television has featured Alaska’s extensive wild terrain, from survival shows to reality shows about families who live and survive in the Alaskan wilderness. Alaska is a beautiful, wild state with extensive forests, rivers, lakes, national parks, and wildlife.

In Alaska, it is very easy to get away from people and find an isolated area to survive, because so much of Alaska is undeveloped. One concern you may have about Alaskan wilderness survival is extreme weather- Alaska’s climate gets very cold in the winter. Especially if you are in Northern parts of Alaska, you may face high levels of snowfall. To adapt to extreme weather, you should learn how to make multiple types of shelters.

For example, if you are surviving an Alaskan winter, you can make an igloo to protect against adverse conditions and stay warm, but if it is fall or summer, you should make a different type of shelter. Luckily, Alaska is mostly forest, so you can create leaf huts using sticks and vegetation to stay warm and dry.

A major benefit of survival in Alaska is its abundance of fish. Well-known for wild salmon, Alaskan rivers and streams are full of food sources that will be easier to catch than other wildlife using nets. It is also full of wild berries and other edible plants. However, the fish and berries also make Alaska the perfect environment for bears that create some wild danger, so ensure you know how to avoid bears when surviving in Alaska.

Valdivian Forest

The Valdivian forest is a temperate rainforest in southern Chile, is the third-largest forest in the world, and is the only temperate rainforest in South America. Temperate rainforests are ideal for wilderness survival and do not have the same animal or poison risks as tropical rainforests. 

This forest has very heavy rainfall, but its warm climate means you will probably only need fires for cooking. Trees like Tipu trees have waterproof wood that you can use to make shelters without worrying about rain or rotting. The forest’s incredible biodiversity enables you to find an abundance of food sources and medicinal plants for your survival journey.

Overall, this forest is ideal for someone willing to survive in a wet, beautiful area with less extreme temperatures than many northern forests.


When surviving in the wilderness, it is best to choose areas with a moderate climate, forest cover, water sources, and edible wild plants. Due to these traits, North American forests tend to be ideal for survivalists. While South America also has extensive forest coverage, these forests carry more risks because they are mainly tropical rainforests full of unknown and poisonous plants and animals.

Overall, North American areas like Alaska and the Appalachians are probably your best bet for wilderness survival in my humble opinion, although it is possible to find good survival areas elsewhere.

Personally, I live in the American South, so Appalachia is where I’d go due to proximity even though Alaska would be my first choice. Which area will you choose?