Cutting down your own Christmas tree can be a memorable and festive experience for the whole family, but it’s key to do this activity safely and legally. In Colorado, you typically need a permit to cut down a Christmas tree on public lands. Here are some spots where you can obtain a permit and some tips for doing this activity responsibly. All permits can be purchased online at recreation.gov.
1. Plan Ahead: Contact the forest service or visit their website for more information on permit availability, cutting dates, regulations, and designated cutting areas.
2. Choose the Right Tools: Bring a sharp saw for cutting and ropes or straps to secure the tree to your vehicle.
3. Select a Healthy Tree: A healthy tree will have vibrant green needles (avoid trees with brown or dry needles).
4. Dispose of the Tree Properly: Find a recycling program, chip the tree for mulch, or compost it.
South Platte Ranger District
Close to Denver: November 24 – December 10
South Platte Ranger District is a part of the Pike National Forest and is the perfect place to scavenge for your Christmas tree this season. The permit applies to specific harvesting areas like Buffalo Creek, Sugar Creek, and Camp Fickes. Permits may sell out.
Pikes Peak Ranger District
Colorado Springs: November 25 – December 18
Pikes Peak Ranger District is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, scenic vistas, and rich diversity of wildlife, as well as being a hot spot to find a magnificent Christmas tree. There are specific cutting areas near Woodland Park. Permits will not sell out.
South Park Ranger District
Fairplay: Through December 31
At South Park Ranger District, enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding ranges and the wide-open landscapes while taking in the beauty of the high-altitude grasslands. Most of this district is open for tree-cutting. Permits will not sell out.