Christmas Tree Cutting Permits

Xmas Tree SkiChristmas tree permits allow you to cut your own holiday tree on public lands managed by San Juan National Forest. “For many families, venturing into a National Forest to cut their Christmas tree for the holidays is a treasured tradition carried on for generations,” said Kara Chadwick, San Juan National Forest Supervisor. “For families creating new traditions, a trip to their local forest to cut their own Christmas tree may be a thrilling experience as they discover the joy of hiking through the forest in search of the perfect holiday centerpiece.” 


When Can I Buy a Permit?

  • Starting Sunday, November 12, 2023: Permits will be available to purchase online at as well as at the local vendors mentioned below.
  • Starting Monday, November 13, 2023: Permits will be available to purchase at direct offices.

Where Can I Buy a Permit?

  • Online: Permits are available online through for $8.00 plus service fee
  • Local Vendors: Permits are available at the following local vendors for $8.00.
    • ‚ÄčDolores: Dolores Outfitters, 341 Railroad Ave
    • Durango: Kroeger’s Ace Hardware, #8 Town Plaza
  • District Offices: Permits are available at the following district offices for $8.00.
    • Dolores: Dolores Public Lands Center, 29211 Highway 184
    • Durango: San Juan National Forest Headquarters, 15 Burnett Court
    • Bayfield: Columbine Ranger District Office, 367 Pearl Street
    • Pagosa: Pagosa Ranger District, 180 Pagosa Street
  • Every Kids Outdoors Pass: The Forest Service is also offering one free permit to fourth-grade students who hold a valid Every Kid Outdoors pass.


Know Before You Go

  • SJNF Christmas Tree Cutting Rules

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    Find out how to buy a permit, where to find a tree, how to select a tree, and how to cut it correctly.

  • Como Talar su Arbol de Navidad (spanish)

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    Seleccione el Árbol ideal para usted y el bosque

  • Christmas Tree Map and Tree Identification

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    Learn how to identify which trees are legal to cut and where to cut them.


Additional Information

  • National Forest roads are not plowed for snow removal, and icy or snow-packed conditions may exist. For information on road conditions, call the National Forest office closest to your destination. Bureau of Land Management Christmas tree permits are sold separately.
  • Cutting a Christmas tree improves forest health. 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.
  • Why cut white fir? White fir are a fire intolerant and shade tolerant tree.  In the absence of natural fire, they reproduce readily.  They can tolerate environments with shade, so they grow in the understory of the forest.  They burn easily and can become a ladder fuel during a fire and carry the fire from the ground to the canopy of the tree.  If a fire burns through the canopy of the forest, it kills the trees and makes it harder to control, whereas if the fire stays on the ground, it is easier to control and causes little to no mortality.  White fir grow well in the understory of ponderosa pine, warm-dry mixed conifer forests and aspen.  Thinning out the small white fir trees helps to reduce canopy fire risk and helps keep an aspen stand from converting to a white fir forest.


San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) Christmas Trees for Conservation Lot

SJMA tree lotIf you can't cut your own tree, consider purchasing a tree from SJMA's Christmas Tree for Conservation Lot. SJMA partners with the National Forest every year to cut over 300 local white fir trees for purchase at the Christmas Trees for Conservation lot. The San Juan National Forest helps designate areas that in the most need of thinning.  Thinning white fir from along the road helps fire fighters manage the fire and protects the over story trees from a crown fire. All proceeds go towards public lands stewardship programs and conservation education.

Each year, the Christmas Tree Lot opens the Friday after Thanksgiving and is located in the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad parking lot at the corner of Camino Del Rio and College. For more details, visit the SJMA website.