Due to impacts from wildfires, there have been many changes to available Christmas Tree cutting opportunities.
Please be sure to read all the regulations and tips prior to setting out on your Christmas Tree harvesting adventure. Plan to cut your Christmas tree on a weekday to avoid weekend crowding.
Visit the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests’ Christmas tree page for more information.
Cut stump at ground level. If snow is on the ground, remove it from around the stump so you can accurately measure the stump and tree height.
Take the whole tree. Do not remove the top of the tree (no “topping” of trees). Cut down the entire tree at ground level.
Some people choose a Christmas tree from a densely forested area to give the remaining trees more space to grow.
Scatter the leftover branches from the stump and scatter them or take them home.
Permits must be displayed and easily visible on the tree for easy viewing or visible on your vehicle dashboard.
Pack out all trash.
Cutting is prohibited at least 50 feet away from a stream or body of water and at least 75 feet away from a road or trail.
Download and print your Christmas tree cutting map from recreation.gov. Printed maps are not available on the Forest.
Cut trees only within the National Forest boundary. No trespassing on private property. Respect private land!
You cannot cut Christmas trees on the Boulder or Clear Creek Ranger Districts.
SUGGESTED AREAS FOR CHRISTMAS TREE CUTTING FOR THE SULPHUR DISTRICT: Elk Creek Area is available from Nov 1 (or 8) to Jan. 7th for walk/ski ins, snowmobile by parking at the closed gates. The cutting area will be open for 4x4, AWD or chained vehicles from Dec 3rd to 11th from 9:00am to 2:30pm when the area is staffed with FS personnel. Port-a-potties will only be available through the Elk Creek cutting area. Please refer to the maps for locations.
AREAS CLOSED TO CHRISTMAS TREE CUTTING IN THE SULPHUR DISTRICT: The Fraser Experimental Forest, all Wilderness areas, within 1/4 mile of any highway, the Winter Park/Mary Jane Ski Areas & above to Berthoud Pass, the James Peak Protection Area, developed recreation areas. No cutting within fire closure areas.
SUGGESTED AREAS FOR CHRISTMAS TREE CUTTING FOR THE CANYON LAKES DISTRICT: Joe Wright Reservoir (off of Highway 14), Swamp Creek (walk in only - access from Manhattan Road), National Forest areas along Manhattan Road. The district is open to cutting at your own risk with exceptions displayed on the map. Port-a-potties are NOT available. Please use open bathrooms along your travel routes.
AREAS CLOSED TO CHRISTMAS TREE CUTTING ON THE CANYON LAKES DISTRICT: Please refer to the map for areas closed to tree cutting. Do not cut trees on private land. No tree cutting in campgrounds or picnic areas. No tree cutting in Wilderness areas (Cache La Poudre, Comanche Peak, Neota, Rawah). No tree cutting in active timber sale areas, or in other areas marked on the map.
Please purchase your permit through recreation.gov - there will be no onsite sales for the Canyon Lakes District. Permits can be purchased at the following locations in the Sulphur District: Winter Park Chamber, Fireside Market, Fraser Murdochs, Granby Country Ace Hardware, and Grand Lake Chamber during normal business hours.
Tools to bring include: a measuring tape to measure your tree stump height and diameter and to ensure it will fit in your home; handsaw to cut your tree; gloves and boots; a tarp to wrap your tree for transport; and rope or straps to secure your tree to your vehicle. Power saws including electric are prohibited.
Carry your tree carefully out of the woods or place it on a tarp or sled to drag it. You can snowshoe, walk, ski, or snowmobile into areas that you can't access by driving to retrieve a tree.
If the tree is too big to transport inside of your vehicle, wrap it in a tarp to prevent wind damage.
Once home, cut the bottom of the trunk off and place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket of water.
If you will be storing your tree outside temporarily, keep it in an area protected from the wind.
Due to the recent mountain pine beetle epidemic and fires, before you head into the forest to cut your Christmas tree: Look up, look down, look around! Avoid standing dead trees. Stay out of recently burned areas. Be aware that trees can fall at any time and use extra caution on windy days.
Please use caution due to recent wildfires.
Cell service is spotty or unavailable. Be sure someone knows where you are and when to expect you back. Check the latest weather conditions, forest warnings, and road closures before you leave on your trip. Bring a map with you. Don’t rely on GPS because it may not be up-to-date with forest service roads and National Forest boundaries. Dress warmly with layers, waterproof clothing, hats, gloves, and take extra dry clothes. Be aware that tree cutting overlaps with hunting seasons. Expect winter weather, including cold temperatures, snow and winds. Bring plenty of food and water with you as well as an overnight survival kit in case you become stranded. It is always better to travel with someone and not to go alone.
Roads may not be plowed. Four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive are recommended. Carry tire chains, a shovel, and a tow chain. Be sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas. Bring a spare key and give it to someone else in your party. Don’t get locked out of your car! Park in areas so that traffic can safely pass, and do not block gates.
Start your day early. Be sure to find your tree and leave the woods before dark.
Be aware of logging trucks that are using the roads.
Pets must be leashed. Wildlife can cause negative inteaction with pets. You must pick up after your pet.
Download Avenza prior to your trip. The QR codes listed on the map will connect your map with Avenza and is a good point of reference.