Oh, Christmas Tree! The Wild Way

Keep your artificial tree packed away. This year we are adventuring to the outdoors. That’s right, in Idaho, we keep it wild. We cut down our own trees, Home Depot and Costco have nothing on us — the mountains are calling and we must go!

Cutting down your Christmas tree is the perfect holiday family tradition in Idaho. You will all come home smelling like fresh balsam and with a tree that has a story to tell. It is also a solid work-out, so it’s a win/win all around, right?! 

National forests are the easiest way to go about chopping down your Christmas tree. Locally, you can go to the Boise, Payette, and Sawtooth National Forests until December 31. 

All you need is a permit, which costs $10.
Yup, you read that right.
Only $10!

This year permits can be purchased online. Permits are for designated areas so make sure you purchase the right one accordingly. Each website has a list of participating vendors that are selling permits if you prefer the traditional, in-person route. You will receive a map of the area and a set of guidelines to follow.

Some things to consider before your memorable tree-chopping adventure:

  • Dress warm, wear your boots, and be prepared for SNOW
  • Bring food, water, and an emergency kit
  • Leave the chainsaws at home, a pruning saw will do just fine
  • Depending on where you plan to go, trees no larger than 13-20 feet can be cut down and removed
  • Check the specific locations to determine your tree height
  • Make sure you are 300 feet from the road, and 150 feet from streams before searching for the perfect tree
  • Plan to make a day out of it

Click the links below to purchase your permit:

Boise National Forest
Payette National Forest
Sawtooth National Forest


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