Forest Products Permits

Christmas Tree Cutting 2019

San Juan National Forest Christmas tree permits on sale

Xmas Tree SkiChristmas tree permits allow you to cut your own holiday tree on public lands managed by San Juan National Forest. These permits are now on sale for $8 at San Juan National Forest offices and selected retail outlets in southwestern Colorado. A permit allows the bearer to cut one tree up to 20 feet tall for personal use until December 31, 2019. Permits come with a brochure with safety tips, information on which species of tree to harvest, and the best places to find trees.

The Forest Service is also offering one free permit to fourth-grade students who hold a valid Every Kid in a Park pass . The free permit is good only at agency offices, and the participating fourth grader must be present.

In addition, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Christmas Tree Train will run on December 1, 8 and 15.  Go to: to find out how you can ride the train into the National Forest to cut your own Christmas tree, with help from the U.S. Forest Service, San Juan Mountains Association and FireWise of Southwest Colorado.

Christmas Tree Cutting Tips

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.


San Juan National Forest permits are now on sale at:


  • Columbine Ranger District, 367 Pearl Street (Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)


  • Dolores Ranger District, 29211 Colorado Highway 184 (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Mon.-Fri.)
  • Dolores Outfitters 341 Railroad Ave (Mon. - Sat. 7 a.m. -7 p.m. and Sun. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)


  • San Juan Public Lands Center, 15 Burnett Court (Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
  • Kroeger’s Ace Hardware, #8 Town Plaza


  • Cox Corner Store, 18794 Hwy 491 (Mon. - Sat. 5:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m., and Sun. 5:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.)


  • Cox Conoco, 201 E. Railroad Avenue (Mon. - Sun. 6 a.m. - 9 p.m.)

Pagosa Springs:

  • Pagosa Ranger District, 180 Pagosa Street (Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)


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.


If you can't cut your own tree, consider purchasing a tree from the San Juan Mountains Association Christmas Trees for Conservation lot.

SJMA tree lot

San Juan Mountains Association partners with the National Forest every year to cut approximately 200 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. This year, white firs were cut off of the Junction Creek Road.  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 eduction.

Location:  Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad parking lot at the corner of Camino Del Rio and College.

Dates: Friday Nov 29- Sunday Dec 22

Times: Sunday - Friday 12:00pm-6:00pm, Saturday 9am-6pm