Outbound Collective logo

Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree the Old Fashioned Way

Go full on Clark Griswold and find your tree in the wilderness this Christmas

By: Sarah Vaughn + Save to a List

Ever wanted to go out and cut down your very own Christmas Tree the old fashioned way? Well you can! In most national forests you can get a valid permit from local ranger stations allowing you to go into “cutting areas” in the forests and harvest your holiday tree. 

Photo by: Sarah Vaughn

We obtained our permit for $10 to search within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington and the ranger was kind enough to set us up with maps of the best forest roads in the area that would lead us to and abundance of Douglas Firs, Silver Firs and Noble Firs.

Photo by: Sarah Vaughn

For our Christmas Tree search we went down one of the recommended forest roads that looked something out of an apocalypse. Tree stumps everywhere, not much forest coverage, about 10 pickup trucks behind us waiting to go shoot guns or go four-wheeling, I decided we best try a different road.

Photo by: Sarah Vaughn

Photo by: Sarah Vaughn

Next forest road we chose was purely what I had imagined my Christmas tree search to be. Thick forest cover, beautiful trails and streams running close by, it was perfect. We walked around through the trees in search of the tree that would fit our apartment best, and it didn’t take long before we spotted the one!

Photo by: Sarah Vaughn

Photo by: Dan Casioppo

Photo by: Sarah Vaughn

Remember, before you go cut down your own tree in a local national forest obtain the proper permit from your local ranger station and check out all of the guidelines before setting out on this holiday adventure!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


10 Things you need to do in Baja

wyld honeys

Journey to Wyoming’s premier snowmobiling destination: Togwotee Mountain Lodge

Samuel Brockway

Hiking in comfort: a review of Danner Mountain 600 Evo boots

Meghan White

A peek through God's window

Heather Arnold