Beautiful Farms to Cut Your Own Christmas Tree
Grab a hot cocoa and take the family on a Yuletide adventure to find the perfect pine, spruce, or fir for your home
After Thanksgiving, consider an alternative tradition to Black Friday shopping: Go to a Christmas tree farm to get your own live fir, spruce, or pine tree. Finding the right tree is only part of the experience when you go to these spots that deliver on holiday charm with bonfires, hot cocoa, and fields of fluffy trees offering the perfect backdrop for your Christmas photos.
We’ve rounded up a dozen farms around the West where you can cut your own tree or score a fresh, precut variety, as well as enjoy family activities. We recommend calling ahead if you’re looking for a particular variety’s availability. You won’t be left hanging: These farms will lend a hand with hauling your tree and getting it baled and prepped for the drive home. Before you go: Don’t forget to measure your ceiling height at home. Bring a foam pad or something to kneel on while you cut, and dress for the elements—you’ll want to be comfortable outside for a few hours.
Trinity Tree Farm, Issaquah, WA
Set on a hilltop in the Seattle suburb of Issaquah, Trinity Tree’s 40 acres is an ideal setting for an afternoon with the family. Aside from the u-cut trees, there’s a children’s train ride, 1955 antique fire engine, and visits with Santa. For couples, it’s an idyllic place for a woodsy wedding if you’re venue-shopping. Chop down just about any firs you could want: Douglas, Grand, Noble, and Fraser.
Frosty Mountain Tree Farm, Sebastopol, CA
One of Sonoma County’s many tree farms, Frosty Mountainoffers popcorn, cider, and weekend hayrides, as well as a petting zoo for your little ones. It’s a 1.5-hour drive north from the Bay Area, and worth the trip if you’re looking to cut your own tree, or pick out precut one. Shop Douglas fir, Leyland cypress, Monterey pine, Noble fir, Red pine, Scotch pine, and Sequoia Redwood; then check out the historic big red barn filled with ornaments for your new tree.
Covered Bridge Ranch, Montrose, CO
Take a road trip to Covered Bridge Ranch, nestled at the based of the San Juan Mountains. After you pick one of their spruces, firs or pines, assemble your own wreath for a bonus decoration. Kids especially love the haystack climb, farm animals, and campfire marshmallow roast. Everyone unwinds as they take in the Rocky Mountain air.
Historic Kirchem Tree Farm, Oregon City, OR
Wander along Kirchem Tree Farm’s 100 acres to find the perfect tree at this spray-free, natural farm that’s been around since the 1800s. The state’s Douglas firs are Kirchem’s specialty, and here you’ll find them standing at about 8-feet tall. While you roam around looking for your match, take a stroll along the scenic Clackamas River. If it’s chilly, don’t fret: Back at the main house, there’s a Warming Shed where you can cozy up next to a wood-burning stove with free hot chocolate after you return from your hunt.
Indian Rock Tree Farm, Camino, CA
About halfway between Lake Tahoe and Sacramento on U.S. 50 is the stunning Indian Rock Ranch, which doubles as a hook-and-release fly fishing venue when it’s not Christmas tree season. Owned by Larry and Geri Hyder, who’ve been married 66 years, the 13-acre farm in the Sierra Nevada foothills draws repeat customers who come for the quality Silvertip, Douglas, and White firs and Incense cedars. Poke around the haunted mine and artifact museum before you head out.
Copenhaver Plantations, Missoula, MT
Less than 10 miles west of Missoula, Copenhaver Plantations has applied its experience and attention to tree care in the wholesale Christmas tree business—and it shows. There’s barely a bad selection at this farm with the fullest pine, firs, and spruce trees around. Browse the boughs, garlands, and wreaths before you post up by the bonfire with hot cocoa or coffee.
Billy’s Farm, Wilton, CA
Spend an afternoon at Billy’s Farm on the southeast outskirts of Sacramento. You won’t go hungry with fresh kettle corn and popcorn it offers, nor the English walnuts Billy’ Farm also grows. It’s the only certified-organic Christmas tree farm in California, where trees grow alongside persimmons, pomegranates, pears, and apples on its 17 acres. Find a range of cypress, cedars, Redwoods, and pines.
Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm, Pleasant Hill, OR
Oregon is considered the Christmas tree capital of America, and Northern Lights keeps busy year-round with weddings, field trips and Colonial Harvest Days in October. But it kicks into gear with Christmas trees come November. Grab a hayride that’ll take you to the tree pasture, where you’ll find big ole firs and mini-me versions that are fun for kids to help harvest. After you cut your tree, grab an espresso or build your own wreath. Then kick back next to the bonfire as the crew bales your tree while you wait.
Peltzer Pines, Brea and Silverado, CA
Orange County’s Peltzer Pines, in business since 1963, has two locations (Brea and Silverado) making for a massive selection of Monterey pine and Leyland cypress. Check its website for a coupon on a tree, then make the trip out to cut your own. Don’t forget your camera, as the acres of trees is a sweeping backdrop for holiday photos. Cash or check only.
Rusty Gate Tree Farm, Harrison, ID
Pack your coats and lace up your boots for a gorgeous trip to Rusty Gate,about an hour’s drive from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which itself has a 162-foot Christmas tree in its downtown. Bring your own saw, or borrow one from the farm. They’ll haul your tree (pick from at least seven types of firs and Colorado blue spruce) and shake its needles for you while you warm up by the campfire.
Crest Ranch Christmas Tree Farm, Santa Cruz, CA
Founded in 1948 and overlooking Boulder Creek from 2,600 feet is Crest Ranch, one of the oldest tree farms in California. It offers all the essentials for getting a tree: free twine and wrapping, snacks, a picnic area, and it’s dog friendly. Come for the Christmas trees (Atlantic cedar, Austrian pine, Arizona cypress, White fir, Sugar pine—to name a few), but definitely stay for the view.
Yes, you can go the Paul Bunyan-route and cut down your own tree in the wild. But, there are some things you need to knowfirst. National forests allow for tree chopping with a permit, which usually runs about $10 and can be found at your local forest district office. They’ll advise you on which tree species are OK to cut, where to go, and how to chop-chop safely.