GRANBY – For generations, families from across Grand County and the Front Range have made a tradition out of Christmas tree hunting in the mountains west of Denver. A trip to the Sulphur Ranger District 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 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 in the Sulphur Ranger District from Nov. 1 through Jan. 6. Most roads will be closed to motor vehicles after Nov. 19, 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 staffed Elk Creek cutting area offers visitors the opportunity to drive through prime Christmas tree cutting terrain from Dec. 7-15, 2013. Smokey Bear will make appearances on weekends, so bring a camera. 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.
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 Elk Creek Cutting Area on County Road 72 west of Fraser during operating hours and at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce located at 78841 U.S. Highway 40, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Country Ace Hardware in Granby will also be selling permits this year and are open seven days a week with varying hours.
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. Winter clothing, sun protection, water, warm drinks and snacks are recommended.