Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests Christmas Tree Permit

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

This $5 permit allows you to cut a Christmas Tree within designated areas of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest! Lifelong memories are built during these special times and we are happy to help with any information gathering you'll need to make this trip a safe and enjoyable one. 

Please be sure to read and agree to all the tips and guidelines when selecting your tree.  

Wenatchee Area Map

Lake Chelan Area Map

Entiat Valley Area Map

Leavenworth Area Map

Cle Elum Lake Area Map

Taneum Junction/Cle Elum Area Map

Mineral Springs/Cle Elum Area Map

Keechelus Lake Area Map

Need to Know

Selecting Your Tree

Each forest has limitations on the size of the tree you can cut and the species of trees that are permitted. See below to help you measure and choose a tree that meets your permit's guidelines. 

Tree Height: 15 feet maximum

Stump height: 6 inches maximum

Take the whole tree. Do not remove the top of the tree; cut down the entire tree

Choose a tree from a dense forested area, which will give the remaining trees more space to grow.

If snow is on the ground, remove it from around the stump so you can accurately measure the stump and tree height. Cut the left over branches from the stump and scatter them.

The tree may be cut, or dug up and removed as a transplant. The ground starts freezing as early as November. Please fill in the hole created when digging up a live tree.

When at a trailhead requiring a fee, you will need to display a Northest Forest Pass on dashboard of vehicle. This can be purchased from any Forest Service office.

Do not park at a Sno-Park unless you have a valid Washington State Sno-Park permit displayed in your vehicle.

The Christmas tree permit system is not meant to be a replacement for our special forest product transplant program. That program is separate with its own guidelines. The Christmas tree program is just that, a program set up for families to cut their own Christmas tree.

Each permit is for one Christmas tree. Only two permits issued per family.

Where to Cut Your Tree

Do not cut within private land, wilderness areas, fire closure areas, tree plantations or any other posted area.

Do not cut within sight of administrative sites, campgrounds or other developed recreation areas.

Do not cut in active timber sales or areas that have been planted with new trees. 

Do not cut within 150 feet of any stream, lake, pond, or wetland area.

Do not cut within 200 feet of the following roads: 

Naches District—along Highway 410, Highway 12, and Forest Service Roads #1200, #1800, and #1900

Entiat District—along the Entiat Valley Road

Cle Elum District—along I-90 and Highway 97

Methow Valley District—along Highway 20 over Loup Loup Pass between Twisp and Okanogan. Along Harts Pass road #5400. Along North Cascades Scenic Highway between east and west scenic highway portal signs (including all side roads).

Planning Your Trip

Helpful Cutting Tips

Carry your tree carefully out of the woods. Dragging the tree will rub off needles and bark. 

If the tree is too big to transport inside of your vehicle, wrap it in canvas to prevent wind damage. 

Once home, cut the bottom of the trunk off and place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket of water. Replenish water. Remember a tree that is dry is an extreme fire hazard. Never try to burn the tree in your fireplace or woodstove - a chimney fire could result.

Tools you might want to consider bringing with you include a measuring tape to ensure you select a tree that fits in your home; handsaw to cut your tree; gloves to protect your hands; boots to protect your feet; a tarp to sit on and/or to move your tree once it's cut; and rope or straps to secure your tree to your vehicle.

Forest road conditions can change rapidly this time of year. For current information, please contact the local Ranger District Office. District personnel may also be able to help if you are looking for a specific tree species.

Be sure to properly dispose of your cut tree after the holidays. Most waste disposal companies offer special pick up times.  

How to Plan Your Trip

Before you leave home, be sure to measure the space where you plan to place the tree in your home (height and width), and measure the space in your vehicle where you will be transporting the tree.

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. Carry tire chains, shovel(s) 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 get by safely, and do not block gates.

Bring plenty of food and water with you as well as an overnight survival kit in case you become stranded.

Start your day early. Be sure to find your tree and leave the woods before dark.

We don't recommend bringing your pets but, if you do, they must be on a leash.

Photo Gallery