Every year, the weekend after Thanksgiving, local social media begins to blow up with pictures of happy little elves tromping “up the Pass” to Woodland Park to collect their annual Christmas Tree. This is a lovely little tradition and people do this annually.
But lesser known is that the San Isabel National Forest also sells permits to cut Christmas Trees. And while it’s another hour’s worth of drive, there is a fairly good chance the tree you get will not only be better, but there will be far fewer people partaking.
Wild Colorado Christmas Trees are something vastly different than what is offered off of Amazon or at the local Christmas Tree Lot. These are not cultivated trees grown on farms, and water in the arid mountain west can be streaky. Oregon and Michigan, enjoy the fact that your lousy winter weather produces nice trees. Celebrating Colorado Heritage looks like this.
Hence, a true, wild, Colorado Christmas Tree is a misshapen, lopsided shrub that often requires a Chevy Chase-style-lopping off the top to fit into a too-short living room (at least, that’s my personal experience). Is it worth it? Depends on the snow, depends on the Saturday, depends on your thirst for memory-making. I am decidedly in the pro-camp, as I really don’t mind my family minivan smelling like sap for a month afterward.
If you are new to this and your ride is too small to jam the tree inside, remember:
top of tree to rear of car.
There is no such thing as an aerodynamic tree, but pointing it top first is sure to start ripping off branches when speeds cross 50 mph.
Christmas Tree harvesting ends December 14th, so it better be scheduled shortly. Thinning the forest of trees is actually quite helpful given the Front Range’s Wildland Urban Interface and the proximity of housing to fuels. That said, “the perfect Christmas Tree” may in fact be the sort of tree that grows up. The tree might make it to New Year’s with most of the needles, but it’s good to plan ahead to take the tree to either the recycling benefit weekends right after Christmas at Rockledge Ranch, or failing that, the weekday option of Rocky Top Resources.