Christmas tree hunting season is under way in Grand County |

Christmas tree hunting season is under way in Grand County

GRANBY – For generations, families from across Grand County and the Front Range have made a tradition out of Christmas tree hunting in the mountains.

A trip to the Arapaho National Forest offers a memorable holiday experience. Combined with any of Grand County’s activities and events, visitors can make a full-day or even a full-weekend event out of holiday tree shopping.

How it works

Christmas tree hunters must first obtain a permit from the U.S. Forest Service. Permits cost $10 per tree and are limited to a maximum of five permits per person. This permit allows visitors to cut Christmas trees from almost anywhere on the Sulphur Ranger District through Jan. 6. Most Forest Service roads are now closed to motor vehicles due to snow, but snowmobiles or skis may be used to access much of the district. For snow conditions and a list of restricted areas, contact Visitor Information at 970-887-4100.

Elk Creek Cutting Area

The Elk Creek cutting area offers visitors the opportunity to drive through prime Christmas tree cutting terrain from Dec. 6-13. Roads will be plowed to allow motor vehicles equipped with four-wheel-drive or chained tires entry from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Snowmobiles and ATVs are not allowed in the cutting area. The Elk Creek Cutting Area is located west of Fraser, on County Road 72. Smokey Bear will be on site for photo opportunities Dec. 6, 7 and 13 so bring your camera.

Where to buy a permit

Permits can be purchased at the Sulphur Ranger District Office located at 9 Ten Mile Drive in Granby, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce located at 78841 U.S. Highway 40, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. Country Ace Hardware in Granby also sells permits and is open 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

What to bring

Christmas tree hunters must bring their own handsaw or ax (chainsaws are prohibited). Additionally straps, strong cord or tarp, sled and work gloves are recommended to help transport and load your tree. Don’t forget appropriate winter clothing, sun protection, water, warm drinks and snacks.

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