Due to wildfires and the need to social distance, there are changes to Christmas tree cutting opportunities on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests for 2020. Learn more.
Christmas tree permit sales begin Monday November 23rd for cutting on the Sulphur Ranger District and you can cut your tree November 23-January 6th. Permits are $20 per tree, with up to 5 trees per household.
The Red Feather Lakes Sale Area was impacted by the Cameron Peak Fire and is not available for Christmas tree cutting in 2020.
Your permit will allow you to cut a Christmas tree on the Sulphur Ranger District, in areas depicted on the Christmas tree cutting map. The Sulphur Ranger District will not be hosting an organized event as they have in the past. We are happy to help with any information you'll need to make this trip a safe and enjoyable one.
Please be sure to read and all the regulations and tips prior to setting out on your Christmas tree harvesting adventure. Christmas tree cutters are encouraged to follow social distancing protocols. 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.
Please see below to help you measure and choose a tree that meets your permit's rules.
Use a handsaw to cut your tree. Chainsaws are prohibited
Stump height: 6 inches maximum
Stump diameter: 6 inches maximum
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; cut down the entire tree
Choose a tree from a densely forested area, which will give the remaining trees more space to grow.
Cut the leftover branches from the stump and scatter them or take them home.
Permits must be visible on the tree for easy viewing or visible on your dash.
Pack out all trash.
Dogs must be on a leash.
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.
You cannot cut Christmas trees on the Boulder, Clear Creek, or Canyon Lakes Ranger Districts in 2020.
Gates to all Forest Service roads are closed. Forest Service lands beind the gates are still accessible on foot (or by snowshoe or ski).
SUGGESTED AREAS FOR CHRISTMAS TREE CUTTING: Port-a-potties are available at each of these sites. Vasquez Road, CR 7 (first 3/4 mile is open for public access); Little Vasquez Road, NFSR156, (access via Arapahoe Road, parking for 3-4 vehicles); Elk Creek Meadows, CR 72 (gates closed, can walk, snowshoe or ski in); Meadow Creek, CR 84 (just over 3.5 miles to the snowmobile parking area); Cottonwood Pass, CR 55 (access from Hot Sulphur Springs, 4 miles to parking area at the Big Meadows (FSR 253) intersection)
AREAS CLOSED TO CHRISTMAS TREE CUTTING: The Fraser Experimental Forest, all Wilderness areas, within 1/4 mile of any highway, within 75 feet of any road, trail, and all bodies of water, 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.
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.
Carry your tree carefully out of the woods or place it on a tarp or sled to drag it.
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, 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.
Permits are only available through recreation.gov or in person through local vendors. Please see the Forest website for a vendor list.
Cell service may be 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.
Dress warmly and take extra dry clothes. Expect winter weather, including cold temperatures, snow and winds.
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!
Bring plenty of food and water with you as well as an overnight survival kit in case you become stranded.
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. Plan to return to your vehicle by 3:00 pm.
We don't recommend bringing your pets but, if you do, they must be on a leash.
Bring masks for everyone in your party and be sure to wear them if you may be within 6 feet of another group.