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

Everything you need to know about cutting down your own Christmas tree in the White River National Forest’s Dillon Ranger District.

Step 1:

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:

  • THE EASIEST WAY: Permits are available online! – Click here to purchase your Christmas tree permit online
  • The Dillon Ranger District Visitor Center – 680 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne. Open Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm (closed for lunch from 12:30pm-1:30pm), Closed weekends, CREDIT CARD ONLY
  • Sanders True Value Hardware – 160 6th Street, Silverthorne. Open Monday-Friday 8:00am-6:00pm, Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm, & Sunday 10:00am-3:00pm, CASH ONLY
  • Breckenridge Welcome Center – 203 South Main Street, Breckenridge. Open 7 days a week 9:00am-5:00pm

Step 2:

Decide where you’d like to cut your tree down. 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

Click here to view a map of the Dillon Ranger District Christmas Tree Cutting Areas.

Step 3:

Things to bring and think about before you go:

  • Don’t forget your permit sticker!
  • Rope or straps to secure the tree to your vehicle
  • The best tool to bring is a hand saw or camp saw
  • Dress warmly and bring layers; be aware that conditions can change quickly in the mountains
  • Snowshoes, skis, or microspikes are highly recommended for traveling in deep snow or ice
  • Check travel maps and road conditions prior to heading out
  • Before you leave to cut a tree, measure your space
  • Do not rely on cell phones, most areas of the Forest do not have service

Step 4:

Please observe these rules when cutting down your Christmas tree:

  • Any 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
  • 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 sticker to the base of the tree stump BEFORE transporting
  • Trees must be used for personal use and cannot be re-sold

Step 5:

Follow these steps to ensure your tree will last 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 at least once a day and increase humidity by misting the needles with water (Dry trees are fire hazards!)
  • Decorate & ENJOY!

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