Peel Forest is a remnant of a forest once covering much of mid-Canterbury. The diverse forest environment attracts walkers, and the Rangitata River lures fishers, canoeists and rafters.
The flora and fauna of Peel Forest Park are rich and abundant. The three largest trees in Peel Forest belong to the family Podocarpaceae, a very ancient family going back in time more than 100 million years. The three large trees are kahikatea (white pine), tōtara, and mataī (black pine). Peel Forest has a graduation of vegetation from mature forest to exposed tussock and herb-field communities. The forest, predominately podocarp and broadleaf rain forest, covers the mountain slopes to about 360 metres.