Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in Lake Tahoe
  • Getting Christmas Tree Permits in the Tahoe Area


     *UPDATE DEC. 5, 2013: The LTBMU Forest Supervisor’s office announced all permits for this year have been sold out. Check here for more information. 

    It’s time to make a fun family trek into the Tahoe wilderness for a freshly-cut Christmas tree. There is nothing better during the holiday season than that smell of fresh pine. Read over these notes from the Forest Service before you cut.

    • Permits cost $10.00 each (cash or check only, no credit cards) with a limit of two permits per family, valid for cutting on or before December 25.
    • Permit holders may choose from varieties of pine, fir or cedar, in designated cutting areas, and must abide by specific permit conditions for proper and responsible collection.
    • Individuals purchasing permits will receive information to help them make the best selection, as well as maps designating the tree cutting areas.
    • Permit holders are reminded to respect private property by not trespassing when entering or leaving designated National Forest cutting areas.
    • The last day to purchase your permit at either office is Friday, Dec. 16, 2011.
    • Obtaining smaller diameter trees, with a trunk of 6 inches in diameter or less, will contribute to a reduction of over-growth, particularly among firs, which are also the most sought after varieties over the holidays.


    Where to buy Christmas tree permits

    • South Shore – LTBMU Forest Supervisor’s office, 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe.  For more information, call (530) 543-2694.
    • North Shore – Incline Village Forest Service office, 855 Alder Ave., Incline Village. For more information, call (775) 831-0914. During winter weather driving conditions, call the Incline office to make sure it’s open.


    Where to cut?

    The Lake Tahoe basin is big, really big. Unless you have the proper maps, you might not recognize private land from public land. So be sure to download these maps for spots to cut in your neck of the woods.

    Local’s Tip: Look for trees that are in same species groupings, away from larger trees. Selecting in this manner ensures that when trees grow, they do not block the light from their closest neighbors, and allows larger trees the water they depend on.


    What to bring

    • Plenty of water
    • Tie downs
    • Hand saw
    • Food and refreshments
    • Gloves and warm apparel
    • Flashlight
    • A few extra hands to carry the tree
    • First Aid kit
    • Sleds