Christmas Tree Permits

Photo of two people carrying a Christmas Tree.“Adventuring out to a National Forest to cut a Christmas tree for the holidays has been a treasured tradition for many generations," said Forest Supervisor Jeff Marsolais. "Even with a large part of the landscape affected by the Caldor Fire, there will still be many places to find a special tree."

Details about designated cutting areas, dates and types of trees that may be cut can be found here:

Cost

Permits are $10/ tree (limit of two trees per household) with an additional $2.50 processing fee. The 2021 tree quota is expected to sell out quickly and no additional permits will be issued after they sell out.

To Purchase a Christmas Tree Permit

Visit Recreation.gov and look for Eldorado National Forest Christmas Tree Permits. It is important to carefully read the overview and need-to-know information prior to purchasing the permit. Visitors will also need to set up or login to a Recreation.gov account to complete the transaction. Setting up an account prior to the opening date is recommended for a quicker check out process.

2021

In 2021 permits went on sale Tuesday November 9th at 9:00 am PST, online only, at Recreation.gov and sold out within a few hours.

Please plan accordingly. The permit is printed at home following purchase and carried with you on your trip to find your tree. You will also need to print or download a Christmas Tree Permit map to locate legal cutting areas. 

Did You Know?

Cutting a Christmas tree can improve forest health if done properly. The permit system helps to thin densely populated stands of small-diameter trees. Local forest health experts identify areas that benefit from thinning trees that tend to be the perfect size for Christmas trees. Removing these trees in designated areas helps other trees grow larger and can open areas that provide forage for wildlife.

Where to Cut Your Tree

  • This permit allows the holder to select up to two Christmas Trees on the Eldorado National Forest. Refer to the Eldorado National Forest Christmas Tree Cutting Area maps to ensure the location you would like to visit to find your tree is included for this permit. The Eldorado National Forest is accessed by Highways 50 and 88.  
  • The Caldor Fire Area will be closed to Christmas Tree cutting in 2021, including National Forest Lands along Mormon Emigrant Trail, Silver Fork Road, and North-South Road. Portions of the King Fire area are also closed in order to give seedlings a chance to grow and forests to reestablish.
  • Permit holders are not to trespass onto private property when cutting their tree. Private property is shown in white on the maps. Be aware there is intermixed private property next to National Forest System lands throughout the Eldorado National Forest. Look for and respect private property signage.
  • Permit must be in possession when cutting and transporting tree(s). You must print your permit at home prior to coming to the Forest to find your tree. Printed permit is to be displayed on the dashboard of your vehicle. Sign and date in the Tree Cutting Date section of the permit once you cut the tree to transport. No "sticky tags" will be issued this year as they have in the past. 
  • Motorized vehicles are only allowed on existing roads and trails that are open to the public. No off-road travel is allowed (unless by snowmobile in open-riding areas). Refer to the Christmas Tree Cutting Maps. Observe seasonal road closures and be prepared to hike to the cutting area to find a tree. Once it snows, very few forest roads are plowed so check conditions and be prepared.
  • Permit holders are reminded to park safely off the roadway and do not block gates.  Be aware of snow removal equipment on the main highways and Ice House Road.

Selecting Your Tree

  • Make sure you are not on private land. Private land is indicated in white on the Christmas Tree Cutting Area maps. Use the Avenza app or download the .kmz file to a mapping app on your smart phone to more accurately determine your location.
  • Tree Height: 20 feet maximum; Stump diameter 6 inches maximum (measured no higher than one foot above ground level); Stump height: cut the tree no higher than 12 inches above ground level.  
  • If snow is on the ground, remove it from around the stump so you can accurately measure the stump and tree height.
  • Select pine, fir, or cedar. Do not cut any hardwood such as aspen or oak.  
  • Take the whole tree of correct size for your home. Do not cut a larger tree than you need and then take the top.  
  • Do not cut isolated trees growing in the open. Choose a tree from a dense grouping to allow the remaining trees space to grow. 

For More Information

Visitor information specialists are available by phone from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday:

  • Forest Supervisors’ Office – 530-303-2412
  • Georgetown Ranger District – 530-334-6477
  • Pacific / Placerville Ranger District – 530-644-2324
  • Amador Ranger District – 209-259-3774