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North Idaho Christmas Tree Cutting- Everything You Need to Know

Whether you are following an old family tradition or starting a new one, we have all the information you need about cutting down your own tree in North Idaho.



Tree Permits are available though the BLM. Thu, Oct 14, 2021 – Fri, Dec 31, 2021.

Permit Cost 2021- FREE (Limit 3 per household, $2.50 service fee)

For more information click HERE.

Plan Your Adventure

Research where you would like to find your tree. There are a many areas in North Idaho and Montana where your tree permit can be used. Take mental note or print the directions since cell service can be unreliable.

Measure your space- Take it from me, trees often look smaller in the great outdoors. You may find what you believe to be the perfect tree, only to get home and realize it fills half your living room. Make sure to measure the height and width of your space before you leave the house and take that measuring tape with you.

Remember roads may not be plowed and the weather may be different than in town. Dress warmly and prepare supplies in case you get stuck. Its better to be safe than sorry.

Finally, make sure you bring the right tools. Helpful items include; measuring tape, a thick pair of gloves, a tool to cut down the tree (an ax or handsaw should be fine), a truck or rope/bungees to attach it to the roof of your car, tarp to protect your vehicle and if your family is anything like mine…lot of snacks.

Where can I cut a tree?

Your permit allows you to cut Christmas trees in any national forest in Idaho and Montana.

Make sure you cut your tree on public lands by carrying a forest visitor map (see map below). Do not cut on private land, in wilderness areas, designated campgrounds, or existing tree plantations.  Do not cut in active timber sales or areas that have been planted with new trees.  Do not cut trees visible from major roads, in campgrounds, or in other well-used areas. Large trees (over 25 feet) are not to be cut and topped for a Christmas tree. Please post your permit on your dash.

See the maps below or follow this LINK for more information:

Picking and cutting the Perfect Tree

Idaho Panhandle National Forest: Tree Height- 12 feet max. Stump Height- 6 inches max.

You must take the whole tree. Do not cut down a large tree to only take the top. Choose a tree from a dense forest area so the other trees will have room to grow.

Remember you will have to carry the tree back to your vehicle, so don’t travel too far on foot. Cut the tree a few feet longer than you need (You will do a final chop and branch removal when you get home).

Newbies Listen Up: Cutting a tree is harder than it looks. It will take a while to get through the trunk but you can do it! Cut the tree on a slight angle and then push it over. Carry the tree upright and avoid dragging it if possible. Cover your vehicle, the tree will drop needles and sap. When you get home cut the bottom of the trunk and immediately place in water. Be sure to water your tree frequently to keep it looking great all season long.

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