Here’s where to cut your own Christmas tree near Colorado Springs

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In this Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, photo a partially open ponderosa pine cone sits in tree at Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, N.M. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

In this Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, photo a partially open ponderosa pine cone sits in tree at Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, N.M. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — If you’re looking for a way to get the family out of the house this holiday season, why not try cutting your own Christmas tree? Here’s what you need to know about tree cutting near Colorado Springs.

The first step is to decide where you’d like to go. The closest area to Colorado Springs is northwest of Woodland Park, in the Pikes Peak Ranger District.

There are also tree-cutting areas around Denver, South Park, Salida, Buena Vista, Leadville, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Wet Mountains, and Spanish Peaks. Tap here for details about each tree-cutting area.

Then, purchase a permit. For the first time, permits are available online through Recreation.gov. There won’t be any in-person sales in the Pikes Peak Ranger District this year.

Permits for the Pikes Peak Ranger District are $20 per tree. They’re on sale now through December 16. Once you have a permit, you can cut a tree any day between now and the 16th.

Before you leave, be sure to: 

  • Prepare for winter driving conditions by bringing a four-wheel drive vehicle or chains. Roads may not be plowed.
  • Have a full tank of gas.
  • Bring a hand saw or axe. Chainsaws are not allowed.
  • Bring a tarp and rope to bring your tree home.
  • Bring winter weather gear, including warm clothes, food, extra water, a blanket, a first-aid kit, and a hot drink.

When choosing your tree, remember:

  • You may cut a tree up to 15 feet tall or 6 inches in diameter at ground level.
  • Trees must be cut within 6 inches of the ground. Remove the entire tree, not just the top.
  • If snow is on the ground, remove it from around the stump so you can accurately measure the stump and tree height.
  • Make sure your permit is visible on your dash as you leave the area.

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