Tonto National Forest Christmas Tree Permit

Tonto National Forest

This permit allows you to cut a Christmas Tree within designated areas of the Tonto 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.

The maps included on this website are georeferenced and will work in your Avenza App.

Permits go on sale November 9, 2023. Cutting begins November 18, 2023.

Need to Know

Selecting Your Tree

Tree Height: 10 feet maximum

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.

Where to Cut Your Tree

Do not cut on private land, in wilderness areas, designated campgrounds, or existing tree plantations. 

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

This permit is for the Tonto National Forest only. It may not be used to cut a tree on any other forest.

Please refer to provided maps for cutting areas.

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. 

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.

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.

You must print and bring your Christmas Tree Permit with you. It must also be filled out with the month and day when you leave the cutting site.

Cell service may be spotty or unavailable. Be sure someone knows where you are and when to expect you back. Bring plenty of food and water with you as well as an overnight survival kit in case you become stranded. Check the latest weather conditions, forest warnings and road closures before you leave on your trip. Start your day early. Be sure to find your tree and leave the woods before dark. 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.

The tree must not exceed 10 feet in total height.

An armload of green branches for decorations may be taken along with your tree as part of this permit. You are also welcome to pick up a few pine cones for decorations, if you wish.

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