EDITOR’S NOTES: With the cost of Christmas trees going up this year, and the supply chain causing delays, it might be a good year for you to consider cutting down your own tree. This makes for a fun day out for the family, and long-time happy memories. Maybe Thanksgiving weekend, with all the relatives visiting, might be a good time to take on the adventure!
Permits to cut your own Christmas tree on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests went on sale Nov. 9 on recreation.gov. Permits must be purchased in advance and cost $20 each.
Located along Colorado’s Northern Front Range, the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests are offering two Christmas tree cutting areas in 2021. Permit holders are responsible for understanding where it is legal to cut a tree and should spend some time reviewing the information and maps provided on the Forests’ webpage: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/xmastrees.
In Grand County, Christmas tree cutting is allowed through much of the Arapaho National Forest’s Sulphur Ranger District between Nov. 9 and Jan. 6. The District will host a staffed and plowed cutting area at Elk Creek near Fraser and Winter Park from Dec. 4-12.
Attendees are encouraged to come during weekdays and are required to have a permit prior to arriving at the entrance station.
In Larimer County, Christmas tree cutting is allowed across much of the Roosevelt National Forest’s Canyon Lakes Ranger District from Nov. 26 through Jan. 8. Permit holders can visit an information station at West Lake Picnic Area near Red Feather Lakes between 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Dec. 4, 5, 11 and 12 for suggestions on where to cut, or look for trees near the Joe Wright Reservoir (off of Highway 14), Swamp Creek (walk in only – access from Manhattan Road), and forest areas along Manhattan Road.
Prior to heading out, be sure to download forest maps onto your smart phone through Avenza, available in the app store. This app works even when there isn’t cell service and will help ensure you don’t cut trees on private property or prohibited areas. Most roads will be closed to motor vehicles after Nov. 15, but snowmobiles or skis may be used to access most areas.
Colorado’s two largest wildfires impacted these ranger districts in 2020 and therefore some areas may not be safe or available for tree cutting. Be sure to check our Know Before You Go page for more details, and have a safe and wonderful holiday season! (this link is temporarily out of service due to fire inactivity at the time of publishing).