Cut-your-own Christmas tree season kicks off in Grand County

It’s not too early to start making plans to cut your own Christmas tree. Image courtesy of the U.S. forest Service
U.S. Forest Service Emblem

Katherine R -FS Armstrong

Events planned for Elk Creek, Red Feather Lakes in early December

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (Nov. 1, 2018) – Days are getting shorter, nights are getting crisper, and the first big snow of the season has blanketed the mountains across the northern Front Range. While the official holiday season is weeks away, it’s not too early to start making plans to cut your own Christmas tree.

For generations, friends and families throughout Colorado have made cutting their own Christmas Trees on a national forest a treasured holiday tradition. The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests will offer several different tree cutting opportunities this year at a cost of $20 per tree. This reflects the first price increase in more than 25 years.

“We would like to thank the 660 people who took time to comment and provide feedback on our Christmas tree program,” said Forest Supervisor Monte Williams. “More than 80 percent of comments supported an increase in price to continue providing the enhanced services that make the events safer and more enjoyable for visitors.”

The long-running, ever-popular, cut-your-own tree events will again be staged out of Red Feather Lakes, about an hour from Fort Collins, from Dec. 1-9; and the Elk Creek Cutting Area near Fraser and Winter Park from Dec. 1-8. These events offer easy access to prime tree cutting terrain via plowed roads and parking areas. Staff and volunteers provide maps and safety information to visitors along with portable restrooms and on-site permit sales during weekends. Visitors might even discover warming stations and fire prevention messaging from Smokey Bear on weekends.

For those wishing to trek off on their own, away from the crowds, permits are available for designated national forest areas on the Sulphur Ranger District near Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs, Granby, Fraser and Winter Park. Permits may be purchased in advance for the Elk Creek Cutting Area or the general cutting area through one of our vendors or at the ranger station in Granby starting Nov. 1. Permits for Red Feather Lakes go on sale Nov. 26 at the Canyon Lakes Ranger Station. On-site permit sales are only available during weekends.

Tree-hunters should be properly equipped with a four-wheel-drive vehicle and snow tires; winter clothing and boots to stay warm and dry; work gloves, eye protection and a handsaw for cutting the tree (no chainsaws); a tarp, rope or sturdy string for loading the tree onto your car; and snacks, water and hot drinks to keep the group full of holiday cheer.

For more information on specific event hours and dates, maps and permit vendor locations, please visit our website at


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