Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Christmas Tree Hunting

Every year for the past 15 years that we have lived in Northern California, we have always cut our own Christmas tree in one of the beautiful national forests we have here in Northern California.

Well, that's not entirely true. In 2005, I had a newborn baby and I refused to go Christmas tree hunting in the forest. So we went to a tree lot. $80 later we had a 5 foot tall tree that we didn't really like. Q griped about the cost and we both missed the adventure of finding our own tree in the woods.

Christmas Tree Cutting in Lassen & Shasta-Trinity National Forests  www.northincali.com

It's definitely an "adventure". One year I was 8 months pregnant so I sent Q into the woods alone to find a tree while I sat in the car. That was the same year we had to cut our tree before Thanksgiving because the baby was coming and I didn't want a repeat of 2005. (see picture below...pregnancy was not good to me...)

Another year it poured down rain and after we had cut the tree and we still needed to tie it to the top of the car, our friend said, "Let's just leave it here and go get a tree at Walmart."

Some years there's snow up to our knees and other years there hasn't been a snow flake in sight. But most of the time it's in that sweet spot somewhere in the middle. A little snow, a little hot chocolate and a lot of looking for the perfect tree. Some years we find one in a matter of minutes (like the pouring rain year) and other times it takes a little more effort. The kids love it at first, and then start to whine when mom and dad keep looking and looking and looking. "Just pick one!" they cry. But it has to be just right, doesn't it? Christmas depends on it! ;)  But then again...maybe it's not about the tree at all. Maybe it's about creating memories and traditions that last. Maybe it's more about the time we spend together and less about the tree.

Christmas Tree Hunting in Lassen & Shasta Trinity National Forests www.northincali.com

Have I sold you on cutting your own Christmas tree yet? No? Well maybe this will: IT ONLY COSTS $10 FOR A TREE PERMIT. That's right. TEN DOLLARS. You can't buy a half a tree at a lot or store for $10.

I was reminded the other day that not everyone knows that you can cut your own tree. Or maybe they do but it just seems hard. How will we know where to go? Won't we get lost? Do we need a chainsaw? What about 4 wheel drive? No need to wonder any longer.

That depends on where you will be getting your tree.  Decide on the national forest that you want to get your tree in.  We almost always get ours in Lassen but Trinity and Shasta are the other options close to us.  Permits are on sale from November 1 - December 22.  Mailing in an order for a tree permit is an option but I have never done that before. We always go to one of the offices and purchase one. You can only cut one tree per household, but each person can cut up to 5 trees as long as they have different names and addresses for each permit. We always get Q's parents a tree, so we just buy their permit under their name and address.

Lassen National Forest: Click HERE for list of locations to buy a permit.
Shasta-Trinity National Forests: Click HERE for list of locations to buy a permit.

First decide on your forest. Each permit comes with a map of locations where you are allowed to cut trees. (We often pick near Old Station because our family's cabin is close by.) Decide on a general area of the park. We try to pick one that has easy access from a major highway. The map marks even dirt roads showing where you can turn off the highway or paved road.  My suggestion would be to pick an area that has a fairly high elevation. Usually the higher the elevation (to a certain degree) will yield the nicer, thicker, prettier trees.

Click HERE for Lassen National Forest Map
Click HERE for Shasta-Trinity National Forest Map


What about all those other questions you have? Maybe these pro tips will give you some answers.

Pro Tips:
  • Bring food. No matter which forest you pick, there won't be anywhere close by to buy food. So pack a lunch and hot chocolate and make a day out of it.
  • Prepare for snow. Some years there's a lot and some years there's none, but we always bring our warm & waterproof clothes and gear so that we aren't caught by surprise. Don't forget about your feet! Keep them warm and dry!
  • Bring a saw. We usually bring a hand powered hack-saw. You don't need a power tool, but it sure was nice the year my brother in law brought his chain saw!
  • Don't forget your rope! Always tie your tree down for transport home, even in a truck. One year we put both trees (in-laws and ours) in the bed of our pick-up truck. When we got home, we only had one tree. 
  • Check the weather.  This will be the best way to determine if you need 4 wheel drive and/or chains. (We like to look at the Cal-Trans web cams for an idea of road conditions.) We have used all types of vehicles. Most of the dirt roads are maintained fairly well and you only need 4-wheel drive if there's snow. There are also places where you can pull off the side of the highway and walk to find a tree, no off-roading required. 
  • Follow the rules. In order to know the rules, you have to read them. They will be in your paperwork that you get with your tree permit. PLEASE follow the rules. If we continue to preserve our forests by being respectful of how many trees are cut, where the trees are cut, and the condition we leave the area we ventured in, then we will be able to keep this tradition for many years to come.
Do you cut your own Christmas tree? Where do you go? Any tips I forgot?  Leave them in the comments.

Need ideas for more wintertime activities? Check out these posts:


  1. If you have never been hunting this is a great overview of some things you should do to have a great trip. Hunting is fun and enjoyed by many, make sure to follow these rules. Click here

  2. Skinning knives are used primarily to skin big game. Most hunters guidance sports do not need more than a four to five inch blade on their folding knife.

  3. I love the way you write and share your niche! Very interesting and different! Keep it coming! dewalt battery powered chainsaw

  4. I have read your blog it is very helpful for me. I want to say thanks to you. I have bookmark your site for future updates. outdoor gear world

  5. In like manner, Mule Deer hunting will be vastly different than any whitetail deer hunting.
    this website

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. You could even stock up on certain scopes that are more qualified for little amusement also that way you are constantly prepared to go at whatever point the hunting urge strikes you. Libbie C. Hass

  8. i am always follow your all of content, its all post is really helpful, thanks

  9. Thanks for the blog filled with so many information. Stopping by your blog helped me to get what I was looking for. Now my task has become as easy as ABC. https://archerytopic.com/

  10. Two trees regularly suggested for novices are the Japanese red maple and the juniper. You can obviously begin with seeds, yet they do take somewhat more time and exertion. this company

  11. Your composing is purely awe-inspiring that I desired to read such high quality material...
    Brian Noble

  12. What a fantabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. I am grateful to you and expect more number of posts like these. Thank you very much. meopta 3 12x56

  13. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. https://archerytopic.com/

  14. As you're probably aware, a chainsaw can be extremely dangerous; it will cut through your arm or leg as easily (if not more easily) than a tree. https://polesawguide.com/blog/how-to-sharpen-a-pole-saw-blade/ When buying a chainsaw there are several things that one should consider.

  15. Great content material and great layout. Your website deserves all of the positive feedback it’s been getting. best electric toothbrush

  16. This original shows entirely desirable. All of limited data files have decided by way of great number from past experiences efficient practical knowledge. So i am inclined it again ever again substantially. deadlifting shoes

  17. Bonsai trees have been around for so long that almost all people have some notion about what bonsai is. This practice is most popular in the Asian community, but people around the world also practice growing bonsai trees.

    tree removal hartland

  18. Personally, I have found that to remain probably the most fascinating topics when it draws a parallel to. You may find two to three new levels inside L . a . Weight loss and any one someone is incredibly important. Initial stage may be real melting away rrn the body. lose weight tree removal in

  19. Interesting post. I Have Been wondering about this issue, so thanks for posting. Pretty cool post.It 's really very nice and Useful post.Thanks Happy New Year Wishes

  20. The web site is lovingly serviced and saved as much as date. So it should be, thanks for sharing this with us. Happy New Year Wishes

  21. Aside from grasses and blossoms, trees can likewise make properties engaging and important. Be that as it may,Tree removal services keeping up trees require additional time and endeavors which a few mortgage holders don't have.

  22. Check all jolts on portals and windows displace any harmed jolts. The yard is sliding passages grant the pioneer gangster really what they are scanning for direct access, the clarification is usually oppressed upkeep or security (broken jolt) don't get found out in this way hypothesis it will never occur, it does and it will. Büroauflösung Berlin

  23. There can be no disavowal that we live in a period of digital fighting. You can have little uncertainty . Subway surfer hack

  24. Wow, What a Excellent post. I really found this to much informatics. It is what i was searching for.I would like to suggest you that please keep sharing such type of info.Thanks Commercial Tree Removal

  25. 서울출장마사지 When your website or blog goes live for the first time, it is exciting. That is until you realize no one but you and your.