City Cast

What to Know Before Cutting Your Own Christmas Tree

Peyton Garcia
Peyton Garcia
Posted on December 13, 2022   |   Updated on June 20
Christmas tree cutting: What to know before you go. (martinedoucet / Getty Images)

Christmas tree cutting: What to know before you go. (martinedoucet / Getty Images)

Planning on cutting down your own Christmas tree? (You’re more admirable than I, but hey, my reliable ol’ 9-foot plastic behemoth does the trick just fine.) 5280 has the deets on what you need to know before you go. But here’s the TL;DR version:

🎄 Permitting:
Cutting down trees is allowed in most national forests during the holidays (typically November to December), you just need a permit. Permits range in cost from $5 to $20 depending on the forest — and I’d cough up, because the fine for not having one is $100. You can purchase yours online at

🎄 Where to go: Some close-to-Denver options include Arapaho National Forest or the Vasquez / Little Vasquez areas near Winter Park (both about a 1.5-hour drive from the city). See a map of all the Colorado forests that allow tree-cutting this time of year.

🎄 What you need: 

  • Handsaw (the Forest Service doesn’t allow chainsaws)
  • Tarp (for wrapping up your precious cargo)
  • Sled (for forest-to-car transport)
  • Rope (to secure your tree to your car)
  • Four-wheel drive vehicle (just trust me on this one)
  • Tape measure (your tree’s trunk shouldn’t be more than 6” in diameter)
  • A Christmas playlist and a thermos of hot chocolate (optional, but highly recommended)
Hey Denver

Want to know what's happening in Denver? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey Denver. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.

Urban Almanac

See All

The latest in Denver