Passes & Permits

Sulphur Ranger District Christmas Tree Permits

These gentlemen have returned to the Sulphur Ranger District ever year for 20 years to cut a tree.For generations, families from across Grand County and the Front Range have made a tradition out of Christmas Tree hunting in the mountains west of Denver. A trip to the Sulphur Ranger District offers a memorable holiday experience. Combined with any combination of Grand County’s Activities and Events, visitors can make a full-day or even a full-weekend event out of holiday tree shopping.

Every Kid in a Park initiative is offering one free Holiday Tree permit to fourth-graders that have a valid 4th Grade Interagency Pass. These free Holiday Tree permits are only available at U.S. Forest Service District offices.

How it works:

Permits must be purchased in advance. Permits cost $10 per tree and are limited to a maximum of five permits per person.

Your permit permit allows you to cut Christmas trees from designated areas on the Sulphur Ranger District from Nov. 1 through Jan. 6. Be sure to reference the map to ensure you are in a location where cutting is allowed. Most roads will be closed to motor vehicles after Nov. 20, but snowmobiles or skis may be used to access most areas.

See a map of cutting areas within the Sulphur Ranger District (.pdf).

Special Elk Creek Cutting Area:

This little one is plumb worn out at the end of a long, fun day hunting for trees with her family.*Note: Buy your permits in advance. No permits will be available for purchase at the gates of the cutting area! Permits are available seven days a week at Murdoch's, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce and Granby Ace Hardware. See hours listed below. The Granby district office will no longer be providing permits by mail.

This special cutting area is open for a short window: Dec. 2 through Dec. 9, 2017. Roads will be plowed to allow one way traffic of motor vehicles equipped with four-wheel-drive or chained tires entry from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Snowmobiles and ATVs are not allowed in the cutting area. From Fraser, CO travel west on County Road 72 to the cutting area entrance.

View a map of Elk Creek Cutting Area.

 Sometimes Christmas tree hunting can be an individual sport.What to bring:

  • Handsaw (chainsaws prohibited);
  • Winter clothing (waterproof pants and jackets, warm fleece or wool layers, snow boots, mittens or gloves, warms hats);
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses;
  • Water, warm drinks, snacks;
  • Sled for pulling tree or young children;
  • Camera;
  • Straps, strong cord, tarp and work gloves for loading tree on vehicle;
  • Vehicle safety kit: shovel, blanket, first aid kit;
  • Full tank of gas;
  • Four-wheel drive or chains are required.

Cutting Guidelines:

  • Tree trunk must be six inches or less in diameter (strictly enforced).
  • Cut tree six inches or less from ground
  • Permits must be attached to tree before cutting and removing, and visible for easy checkout

Where to buy a permit:

Winter Park Chamber of Commerce
78841 U.S. Highway 40
Winter Park, CO 80482
Hours: 7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Country Ace Hardware
627 W. Agate
Granby, CO 80446
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Murdoch's Ranch and Home Supply
541 Zerex St.
Fraser, CO 80442
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce
14700 US Highway 34
Grand Lake, Colorado 80447
Hours: Sunday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Weekdays only:

Sulphur Ranger District Office
9 Ten Mile Drive
Granby, CO 80446
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(970) 887-4100

Safety & Comfort

  • Roads are narrow and slick with limited sight distance, please use caution.
  • Drive slowly within cutting area. Park off roads in plowed areas or pull-offs; do not obstruct traffic. One-way traffic only on all roads within the cutting area.
  • If someone in your group is missing, don't wait, notify Forest Service personnel immediately.
  • Each year a number of people either lose their keys or lock them in their vehicle. Bring a spare key and give it to another member of your party.
  • Expect winter conditions, including below-freezing temperatures and cold winds. Dress warmly.
  • Pets are not recommended; dogs must be on a leash if brought into the area.

Visiting Mountain Pine Beetle Areas

Whenever traveling in Mountain Pine Beetle impacted areas, remember:

  • Your safety is your responsibility.
  • Falling trees are always a hazard when visiting the forest.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dense patches of dead trees. They can fall without warning.
  • Stay out of the forest when there are strong winds that could blow down trees. If you are already in the forest when the winds kick up, head to a clearing out of reach of any potential falling trees.
  • Park vehicles in areas where they will not be hit if dead trees fall.
Please Note: The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests are currently accepting comments on a proposal to increase the Christmas tree permit fee to $20 per tree beginning in 2018. Revenue from fees helps fund ammenities such as plowing, parking, staffing, maps, signs and other enhancements. Please tell us what you think about this holiday activity, the facilities and services provided. Comment here by February 16, 2017 or use a comment card available at the Fort Collins or Granby office or at the sale area.

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!