For generations, families from across the Front Range have made a tradition out of Christmas tree hunting in the mountains west of Denver. A trip to cut a Christmas tree offers a memorable holiday experience whether it be a full-day or a full-weekend. The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests offer two Christmas tree cutting areas to make your experience more enjoyable. Christmas tree permits for the two areas are available for $10 per tree and are limited to a maximum of five permits per person.
The Red Feather Lakes cutting area is open Dec. 3-11. Red Feather is located about an hour west of Fort Collins. From Fort Collins take U.S. 287, 21 miles north to Livermore. At Livermore turn left onto County Road 74E (Red Feather Lakes Road). Follow Red Feather Lakes Road 16 miles and turn left onto County Road 68C (Boy Scout Road). Follow Boy Scout Road for seven miles. Signs or Forest Service personnel will direct you into the area.
The cutting area will be allowing entry from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for safety reasons, please leave the area by 4 p.m. Permits are available for the location near Red Feather Lakes at the U.S. Forest Service Fort Collins and Greeley offices. The Visitor Office in Fort Collins is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Call 970-295-6700 before arriving to ensure someone who can sell permits is available. Permits will be available on site for cash on the weekends only.
Where to buy a permit:
· Canyon Lakes Ranger District, 2150 Centre Ave., Building E, Fort Collins; open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Cash only
· Pawnee National Grassland, 115 N. Second Ave., Ault; open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Cash only.
· On site at Red Feather Lake Cutting Area, weekends only and cash only.
Don’t forget to bring your handsaw or ax (chainsaws are prohibited), winter clothing, water, warm drinks and snacks, sled for pulling tree or young children, equipment for loading tree, and vehicle safety kit that could include a shovel, blanket, first aid kit, etc. Most importantly, make sure your vehicle has four-
wheel drive (not all wheel drive) or chains or traction devices (not socks). This is required.