Christmas Tree Permits Available Across the Rocky Mountain Region

Ad of the 2022 Christmas Tree Sales

Christmas Tree Permits allow people to cut down a Christmas tree from designated locations in our National Forests. Permits may be purchased by phone at the Forest Supervisors and District Offices and many forests offer Christmas Tree Permits online through Recreation.gov.

“For every tree that is found, cut and carried home as a holiday fixture, a new story is created,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “These stories become the precious memories that create traditions worth carrying on for generations and further connect families with their local forests.”

Cutting a Christmas tree also improves forest health. 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.

Fourth grade students can get a free Christmas tree through Every Kid Outdoors Program! Use the pass ID number on Recreation.gov to claim your free permit (processing fee applies).

Permit availability varies by forest and district. There are a limited number of permits and some locations sell out very quickly. Permits purchased through recreation.gov incur a $2.50 processing fee in addition to the cost of the permit.

Participating USDA National Forests Throughout the Rocky Mountains

Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests Pawnee National Grassland

Black Hills National Forest

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest & Thunder Basin National Grassland

Pike-San Isabel National Forests & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands

San Juan National Forest

White River National Forest

 

Christmas Tree Cutting Guidelines 

  • Do not cut in or near developed recreation areas, such as a campground or picnic area, or near any residential areas.
  • Do not cut in wilderness areas, special protection areas, experimental forest or anywhere else that is marked as “No Cutting”.
  • Tree trunk size must be six inches or less in diameter. (strictly enforced)
  • Cut tree six inches or less from the ground.
  • No topping of trees.
  • No cutting trees within 75 feet of any road, trail and all bodies of water.
  • No cutting trees marked with blue paint.
  • Handsaws required. (chainsaws prohibited)
  • Permits must be visible on the tree for easy viewing or visible on your dash.
     

Know Before You Go and Safety Recommendations

Two women a baby puts a tree on a car.

  • Four-wheel, all-wheel drive or chains required. 
  • Consider weekday cutting to avoid weekend crowds.
  • Be prepared for winter conditions and below freezing temperatures! Bring warm clothes, ice scraper, tow straps, chains, jumper cables, and other emergency supplies. Remember that cellphones may not work in the mountains.
  • Plan accordingly, the forest will likely have two or more feet of snow and temperatures drop quickly after dark. Please watch the weather and plan to cut your tree and be back at your vehicle by 3 p.m.
  • Park in areas so that traffic can safely pass, including not blocking gates.
  • CAUTION: Due to the mountain pine beetle epidemic and severe burn areas, avoid standing dead or burned trees. Stay out of recently burned areas and be aware that trees can fall at any time.
  • Call ahead prior to purchasing over the counter or curbside to determine availability.
  • Local offices can provide up-to-date road and weather conditions.
  • Bring emergency supplies, including water and food and a first-aid kit.
  • Pack out what you packed in.
  • Drive safely and enjoy your quest for that perfect Christmas tree!
     

Additional Online Resources:

Yuletide Tips