Celebrate the holiday season by chopping down your own tree! This is a challenging yet rewarding day-trip that you can do with the whole family. Before heading out, purchase your tree cutting permit and map online or at the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Visitor Center in downtown Eugene. The permit allows for the removal of one tree under 15 feet tall on National Forest Land. Five tree permits are allowed per household.
Fourth graders are eligible for a free holiday tree permit — please see Every Kid Outdoors to obtain your fourth grader park pass and order through Recreation.gov. The Fourth Grader free passes and permits are only available online and must be ordered in advance (they are not available at our downtown visitor center).
How to Cut Your Own Tree
Follow a map for harvesting a tree in Willamette National Forest to plan your route
A vehicle that can carry your glorious hand-picked tree. Some areas may require chains or snow tires
Something to strap-up your tree to your vehicle.
Bring a tape measure, and make sure you measure the space back home where the tree will be displayed.
A tool to chop down your tree — a saw should do the trick
Layers — it's cooler in the mountains and there might even be snow
Bring water and snacks
Let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be back
Take note of visual landmarks frequently so you don't get lost wandering in the woods.
Remember, once you cut your tree, you'll have to haul it back to the car!
Please note the following tree cutting restrictions (from the USDA Forest Service September 2015):
The following restrictions are designed to maintain scenic quality, prevent erosion and protect our resources.
- Tree cutting is prohibited within 50 feet of trails and paved roads, within 300 feet of campgrounds, and within 100 feet of streams.
- No cutting is allowed in fenced plantations.
- Please do not cut in areas which are posted, "Christmas Tree Cutting Prohibited"
- Please keep all debris at least 50 feet from roadways.
- Five-needle pines, sugar and white pines are protected. Please do not cut any of these.
A seasonal holiday ornament hunt takes place until December 31 on designated National Forest lands along popular trails. Seek out your free keepsake ornament. If you find one of these Oregon-crafted wooden ornaments, enter the sweepstakes to win an Oregon adventure!
Christmas Tree Farms
Don't need to prove yourself in the woods? Tree farms have beautiful, trimmed trees that you can either chop yourself or purchase from a pre-cut selection. Often Christmas tree farms offer amenities like shaking and bailing and may even haul your tree to the car and tie it on. The other joy about Christmas tree farms is the festive decor and spirit. Tree farms are mostly located along Highway 126 toward McKenzie River and along Highway 58 toward Lowell.
Head over to Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm for both pre-cut and u-cut tree options — and plenty of cheer! Vendors offer warm drinks, there is holiday boutique for shopping, farm animals to see, a bonfire for warming cold hands... it doesn't get any more cozy than that!
Festival of Trees
Admire pre-cut and/or pre-decorated trees at holiday festivals, including the Festival of Trees at the Graduate Eugene, Creswell's Winter Lights Silent Tree Auction and the Gala at Florence's Military Museum. Get inspiration for decorating your tree this year or bid on an already bedecked tree to make the take-home tree experience super easy. These beautiful and creative trees benefit charity, so you can feel extra great about contributing.