This permit allows you to cut a Christmas Tree within designated areas of the Gifford Pinchot 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. (There is a $2.50 reservation fee when purchasing a permit through Recreation.gov).
Please be sure to read and agree to all the tips and guidelines when selecting your tree.
Douglas-fir trees are one of the most popular species used for the holidays and can be found throughout most of the forest. True firs, such as the Noble and Silver, are also often sought after. However, these primarily occur at higher elevations not accessible during winter months.
On the south end of the forest, visitors have had luck finding their trees on Forest Road 90, Wind River Highway (Forest Road 30), and Forest Road 65. From the north, Forest Roads 84, 21, and 22, as well as many roads leading to Sno-Parks, should be relatively clear and have suitable trees.
This link will take you to a map to locate Forest Product Harvest Areas on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. A mobile version is available through Avenza. Printable maps are available below, in the "Maps" section.
As of October 8, 2020, a few Forest Roads remain closed as a result of the Big Hollow Fire closure order . Closed sites include: Forest Roads 5701, 5800 btwn junction w/ 5700 + 6400 & 6400, in addition to a number of trails.
You can cut your tree in most places on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest with the following exceptions:
Do not cut on private land, in wilderness areas, or the Mount St. Helens National Volcanaic Monument
Do not cut trees within developed campgrounds, administrative sites, experimental forests, or any other posted area
Do not cut in active timber sales or areas that have been planted with new trees.
Do not cut trees within 300 feet of streams
A Washington Sno-Park Permit is required for parking at designated Sno-Parks.
A valid Recreation Pass is required at designated recreation fee sites.
When searching for your Christmas tree at the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, be sure to use designated motorized roads and to be aware of seasonal road closures. Maps and travel publications are available online.
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.
Cut one tree per permit. Five permits per household maximum.
Select a tree less than 12 feet tall. Cut the tree 12 inches or less above the ground level. Remove snow around tree base if needed. Cut off live limbs remaining on the stump. Take the whole tree. Do not remove the top of the tree; cut down the entire tree
If snow is on the ground, remove it from around the stump so you can accurately measure the stump and tree height.
Christmas Tree cutting maps: Free digital Special Forest Product Map on Avenza Maps, or get one in person when you get your tree permit.
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.
If storing your tree outside for a few days before putting it in the house, keep it in an area protected from the wind, such as the north or east side of your house or under a shaded tree.
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.
Choose a tree from a dense forested area, which will give the remaining trees more space to grow.
Cut the leftover branches from the stump and scatter them.
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.
You must PRINT and bring your Christmas tree permit with you.
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 plenty of food and water with you as well as an overnight survival kit in case you become stranded.
Bring a map with you. Don’t rely on GPS because it may not be up-to-date with forest service roads. 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!
Dress warmly and take extra dry clothes. Expect winter weather, including cold temperatures, snow and winds.
Park in areas so that traffic can get by safely, and do not block gates.
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.