5 Steps to Follow When Cutting Down a Christmas Tree in Summit County

Everything you need to know about cutting down a Christmas tree in the White River National Forest, in Summit County, Colorado.

Step 1: Purchase Your Permit

Christmas Tree permits go on sale November 16, 2022. You must purchase a Christmas tree cutting permit BEFORE you cut your tree down. There is a limit of five permits per person, and permits are not eligible for refund. Permits may be purchased from:

  • Permits are available online! – Click here to purchase your Christmas tree permit online (note: additional $2 processing fee for online transactions)

  • The Dillon Ranger District Visitor Center – 680 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne. Open Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm. Closed weekends & holidays

Step 2: Pick a Location

Most of the White River National Forest is open for cutting, but please avoid the following areas:

  • Wilderness areas & proposed Wilderness areas

  • Developed recreation areas

  • Campgrounds

  • Ski areas

  • Within 100 feet of main roads

  • Within 100 feet of water source

Step 3: Prepare For Your Excursion

Things to bring and think about before you go:

  • Before you leave the house to cut a tree, measure your space

  • Don’t forget your permit!

    • if purchased online, take a screenshot 
  • Rope or straps are necessary to secure the tree to your vehicle

  • The best tool to bring is a hand saw or camp saw

  • Snowshoes, skis, or microspikes are highly recommended for traveling in deep snow or ice

  • Dress warmly and bring layers; be aware that conditions can change quickly in the mountains. And don’t forget, it gets dark early this time of year!

  • Check travel maps and road conditions prior to heading out

  • Do not rely on cell phones, most areas of the Forest do not have service

Step 4: Follow Rules

Please observe these rules when cutting down your Christmas tree:

  • Any type of conifer tree may be harvested EXCEPT for the Colorado Blue Spruce – Please do not cut down a Colorado Blue Spruce

  • Trees need to be less than 15 feet tall and six inches or less in stump diameter (at the base)

  • Cutting the top off of large trees is prohibited (see photo)

  • Do not cut single trees in forest openings, find a small group of trees to cut from instead

  • Cut your tree as close to the ground as possible (stump height of six inches or less)

  • Attach your Christmas tree permit to the base of the tree stump BEFORE transporting

  • Trees must be used for personal use and cannot be re-sold

NEVER cut the top off of a tree – the tree will not survive

Step 5: Set Up Your Tree

Tips to ensure your tree will last inside until Christmas:

  • Once your tree is home, cut one inch off the base of the trunk and immediately place in water

  • Do not allow your tree to dry out – check water levels every day and increase humidity by misting the needles with water (Dry trees are fire hazards!)

  • Decorate & ENJOY!