Christmas Tree Harvest

Christmas Tree permits go on sale in mid-November!

Get your permit!

  • The Gifford Pinchot National Forest offers Christmas tree permits at any forest office, many local vendors, and online through Open Forest!  
  • You will need to bring your printed permit with you into the forest!

Know Before You go:

  • Take precautions before traveling on Forest roads, including checking current weather conditions. Call the local Forest office for the latest road information.  Some roads are subject to winter closures.  Download or pick up a free forest Motor Vehicle Use Map for seasonal closure information.
  • Carry the appropriate safety items such as tire chains, shovel, food and water, and extra warm clothes. Don't count on your cell phone!  Most areas of the forest have no signal.
  • Remember, a permit does not guarantee you will find a suitable tree. There are no refunds.
  • Cutting trees is prohibited in Wilderness areas or the legislated Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

Safety Tips

  • Be Prepared For Winter Weather Conditions!
    Winter weather conditions can change rapidly in the Pacific Cascade Range. Be prepared for any type of weather before you set out.
  • Arrive Early At Your Cutting Area
    The sun sets early and it may take longer than you think to find that special tree. Do what you can to avoid driving home in the dark, but don't hurry. Your safety is most important.
  • Carry Winter Safety Gear
    Carry tire chains, shovel, flashlights, and blankets in your vehicle.  Most National Forest roads are not maintained or snowplowed during the winter.
  • Dress Appropriately!
    Wear proper winter clothing and carry extra in case you get wet. You might be warm, dry and comfortable when you start, but you may be tired and cold as the day wears on. Keep extra outer wear in your car during winter.
  • Drive Safely And Slowly
    Turn on your lights when driving on national forest roads, even if the sun is shining.  Also, watch for snow and ice.  Most National Forest roads are not maintained or snowplowed during the winter.  Read more about winter driving on national forests.
  • Tell Someone You Will Be Gone
    Let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back.  There is no cell signal in most of the forest.
  • Watch Your Step!
    Steep terrain, down branches, and deep snow make walking difficult. Take your time and watch your step.
  • Be Careful With Your Tools
    Your ax and saw are sharp. Be careful. Do you have a first aid kit in your car?
  • You Are Not The Only One On The Road
    Park your vehicle on road shoulder or in turnouts.  Do not block the roadway.

Tree Cutting Instructions

  • Cut one tree per permit.  Five permits per household maximum.
  • Select trees not more than 12 feet tall.
  • Tree topping is prohibited.
  • 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.
  • To make your trip back to the car easier, slide your tree on a plastic tarp.
  • Upon return to your vehicle, punch out month, day, and year on permit. Immediately attach permit securely to your freshly cut tree where it will be clearly visible.
  • Christmas Tree cutting maps: Free digital Special Forest Product Map on Avenza Maps, or get one in person when you get your tree permit.

Special Instructions

  • Contact the nearest Ranger District for the latest Forest closures or restrictions.
  • A Christmas tree permit is for your personal use only. The use of a personal Christmas Tree Cutting Permit for any other purpose is prohibited.
  • A violation of the personal tree cutting permit can result in fines up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail.
  • There is a limit of five personal permits per person.
  • Christmas tree permits are not refundable for any reason.
  • Tree cutting is prohibited in congressionally designated Wilderness Areas, the congressionally designated Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, experimental forests, developed campgrounds, administrative sites, within 300 feet of streams, on private or state owned lands within national forest boundaries, and in any other posted area.
  • Gifford Pinchot National Forest Christmas tree permits are not valid on other land ownerships. Cutting on private lands is subject to trespass action.
  • If unsure about areas available for tree cutting, contact the nearest Ranger District office or a Forest Service Officer in the field. Sno-Park permits are required when parking in a designated Sno-Park area and Northwest Forest Passes are required at designated trailheads.

Keeping Your Tree Fresh

  • Make A Fresh Cut - When you get your tree home, make a fresh cut on the butt to open up the pores which have been clogged by sap. Cut off at least one-half inch. The fresh-cut surface should be creamy-white, not yellow or brown. If you do not make a fresh cut, the tree will not be able to drink water. After the cut is made, put the tree in water as soon as possible. Even if a hole is drilled to accommodate a pin-type stand, a fresh cut should also be made on the butt.
  • Put Your Tree In Water - Place the tree in a sturdy stand which will hold at least one gallon of water per day. Fill with plain water. If the tree is not going into the house right away, it should be stored in a bucket of water on a cool porch or patio away from wind or sun.
  • Water Daily - An average tree may consume between a quart and a gallon of water per day. If the water level drops below the cut end of the trunk, a seal will form and no more water will be absorbed by the tree.
  • Mini-Lights Produce Minimum Heat - Miniature lights produce much less heat and reduce the drying effect upon the tree. Always check light sets for frayed or cracked wire insulation and broken sockets before placing them on a tree. Do not attempt to repair a worn light set. Throw it away and buy a new set. Always turn off the lights of your tree when leaving the house or retiring for the night.
  • Keep Away From Heat Sources - Place the tree away from heat sources such as heating vents, fireplaces, wood stoves and fireplace inserts, radiators, television sets or sunny windows. Know where your fire extinguisher is nearby.
  • Remove the Tree Promptly - After Christmas, before the tree dries, remove it from the house for pick up by your disposal service or for your local chipping and compost program. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.

Where To Buy Your Tree Permit

Visitors can purchase and print Christmas tree permits online using Open Forest or at the following Gifford Pinchot National Forest offices and vendor locations near you.  

Gifford Pinchot National Forest Headquarters 
Fort Vancouver Visitor Center
1501 E. Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98661
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (360) 891-5001

Mt. Adams Ranger District 
2455 Highway 141, Trout Lake, WA  98650
Office Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (509) 395-3400

Cowlitz Valley Ranger District
10024 US Hwy 12 – PO Box 670, Randle, WA  98377
Office Hours:  Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m.4:30 p.m. (closed for lunch from noon until 1 p.m. daily) (360) 497-1100

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument  
42218 NE Yale Bridge Rd., Amboy, WA  98607
Office Hours:  Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m.4:00 p.m. (360) 449-7800


All Forest Service offices will be closed Thanksgiving Day.

Vendor Locations (Call for hours of operation and information):


  • Amboy: 
    • Amboy Market (360) 247-5421
    • Chelatchie Prairie General Store (360) 247-5529
  • Ashford: 
    • Ashford General Store (360) 569-2377
    • Ashford Valley Grocery (360) 569-2560
  • Carson:
    • Wind River Market (509) 427-5565
  • Cougar: 
    • Cougar Store (360) 238-5228
    • Lone Fir Resort (360) 283-5210
    • Lakeside Country Store (360) 238-5202
  • Elbe:
    • Elbe Mall (360) 569-2772
    • Elbe Junction (360) 524-7707
  • Home Valley: Home Valley Store (509) 427-4015
  • Kalama: Kalama Spirits and Tobacco (360) 673-4991
  • Kelso: Sportsman's Warehouse (360) 423-2600
  • Packwood: Blanton’s Market (360) 494-6101
  • Randle:
    • Fischer’s Market (360) 497-5355
    • Randle One Stop (360) 497-3261
  • Stevenson: Main St. Convenience Store (open 24 hours) (509) 427-5653
  • Trout Lake: Little Mountain (True Value) Hardware (509) 395-2773 
  • Vancouver: Sportsman's Warehouse (360) 604-8000