DURANGO, Colo. — The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is elevating what you know about picking out your Christmas tree.

“We get people from around the world that come here, from every corner of the globe, and they really just want to experience this route and the American West,” Jonathan Smith with the Durango & Silverton Christmas Train said. “On a train you get to meet people from all walks of life. That’s one of the best parts of train travel.”

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is offering a unique experience for anyone looking to create a special Christmas memory.

“You can go and cut down a Christmas tree anywhere in the National Forest,” Smith said. “But when you get aboard this train and you come here and you cut it down yourself with your family, you get to experience the beautiful sights and sounds of this train, load up your tree on an authentic boxcar from 1913. There’s nowhere else where you can experience that.”

The Cope family from Cortez heard about the train ride and decided to try it out.

“This is really cool,” they said. “I can’t think of anywhere else in the country you can ride a steam train up into the mountains. And especially help thin out the forest and help the Forest Service thin out things.”

In addition to creating Christmas memories, cutting down the trees helps protect the forest against wildfires.

“There’s a whole bunch of trees in here, which are white fir, that need to be cut one way or another,” Forest Service volunteer Vern Janke said. “If the Forest Service comes in here and does it, they’ll just go to waste.”

There are a couple of rules to follow aboard this excursion. An $8 permit is required to cut each tree, and the height of the tree cannot surpass 20 feet.