Cutting a Christmas tree in the woods sounds like something straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie, but out at Mt. Hood it’s a reality that can make all your Christmas dreams come true. For only a five dollar permit you can cut up to a 12 foot tree, and considering the prices of most live trees you really can’t beat that! On top of that, the whole experience was so incredibly fun and will probably be a tradition we do for years to follow!
Since it was our first time cutting a wild tree we thought we would share our experience and what to expect if you plan a trip to Mt. Hood.
WHAT TO Bring along
We weren’t sure what we were getting into with this whole experience, but it was much easier then we thought. We packed up the car with a saw, twine to tie the tree down with, and cocoa for after the fact. Always check the weather conditions beforehand to know if you’ll need chains, but the weather was clear and a tad warmer the day we traveled.
Remember it’s always going to be cooler than Portland so dress accordantly. You’ll probably want to double up on layers, wear gloves, hats and hiking/snow boots.
WHEre we went
You’ll need to purchase a Christmas tree permit before you actually trek into the woods to find your tree. There are quite a few places to purchase a permit, but we decided to head to the Zigzag Ranger station so we could grab a map as well. You have to get a permit! You could get a very hefty fine if you don’t, so pay the five dollars and get your permit.
We had a couple areas that were recommend by the rangers. We decided to head toward Lolo Pass which was only about a 4 mile drive from the ranger station. Once we got up to the area where we were permitted to cut we pulled off and started searching! The first stop was a bust and there were no trees, so we decided to drive a little farther. You do have to search quite a bit for a tree! We made two stops before we found an area with a tree to cut.
Tree Cutting Guidelines
Once you’ve found a tree there are a few rules to follow to make sure you’re okay to cut the one you’ve found. In the Mount Hood National Forest you’re allowed to cut Noble Firs, Pacific Silver Fir, and Douglas-fir. If you’re not sure what those look like HERE is a good document to look at before you cut your tree. We were specifically looking for a Noble Fir because they’re great Christmas trees and I love how they look. You also need to make sure there is another tree of similar size growing within eight feet of the tree you’re cutting. If there isn’t you’ll have to keep searching.
We climbed down a hill a bit to find our tree, since it was farther down it was absolutely perfect and worth the extra work to get to. It was an adventure for sure and I highly recommend tree hunting every year if you’re in the Portland area.
A little tired after carrying a tree up a hill but I think it was worth. I also wasn’t the person carrying the tree so not sure if that had anything to do with it.
All in all we had an amazing day with friends, finished off our journey with hot cocoa and coffee and got the perfect Christmas tree. We will most definitely be doing this next year, and probably every year after!