Where and how to cut down your own Christmas tree in Colorado

DENVER — It’s that time of year again where people want to get into the holiday spirit by cutting down their own Christmas tree.

Sure, you could just go to a lot and grab one – but we live in Colorado and there’s several options to unleash your inner lumberjack and cut down your own tree. And it could save you some money.

Multiple U.S. Forest Service districts in Colorado are offering people the chance to get out into the forests, pick the perfect tree and cut it down themselves.

But there’s only certain places you can go and it requires a permit.

Each permit costs $20 and can be purchased in several area districts.

If you do plan on going to cut your own tree, rangers say you will need four-wheel drive or at the very least traction devices such as chains. You also need to bring a hand saw or ax to cut down the tree (no chainsaws are allowed) as well as straps to attach it to a vehicle.

Here’s where to go.

Buffalo Creek

Permit Info: Permits were sold through Nov. 21 and are limited.

Cutting Dates: Nov. 23 – Dec. 9

Contact: 303-275-5610

South Platte Ranger District Christmas tree cutting will occur in two locations; Buffalo Creek and Camp Fickes.

Here’s a map along with rules for tree cutting at Buffalo Creek. More information can be found on their website.

Fraser/Winter Park

Permit Info: All permits must be bought online or at a store in advance – no permits will be sold at the gates.

Cutting Dates: Nov. 1 – Jan. 6

Contact: 970-887-4100

Tree cutting happens in the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests – including a special cutting area in Elk Creek that will only be open Dec. 1 – Dec. 8.

Rampart Range

Permit Info: Nov. 26 – Dec. 14 at the district office at 601 S. Weber St. in Colorado Springs

Cutting Dates: Nov. 26 – Dec. 14 – all trees can be cut anytime after purchasing a permit

Contact: 719-477-4221

The Forest Service says that some Douglas Fir trees may have been damaged by Western Spruce Budworm. For more information on tree cutting in the Pikes Peak Ranger District, visit their website.

Red Feather Lakes

Permit Info: Permits are available online, at the Canyon Lakes Ranger District Office or at their offices in Fort Collins

Cutting Dates: Dec. 1 – Dec. 9

Contact: 970-295-6700

Trees marked with blue paint are not allowed to be cut down.

South Park

Permit Info: Nov. 19 – Dec. 24 at the South Park Ranger District Office on weekdays. Permits also available at offices in Fairplay and Woodland Park.

Cutting Dates: Nov. 19 – Dec. 24 – all trees can be cut anytime after purchasing a permit

Contact: 719-836-2031

For more information on Christmas tree cutting with the South Park Ranger District, visit their website.

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