Park will offer permits via a lottery system that opens on November 1.

Take part in a wonderful Christmas tradition just minutes away from Denver by cutting your very own Christmas tree at Golden Gate Canyon State Park! In addition to a beautiful tree, you will be doing your part to foster forest health in Colorado. 

This year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) will be opening up the park to tree harvesting for the holiday season. CPW will offer 250 permits via a lottery system for Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine, Lodge pole pine, and Rocky Mountain juniper trees. Those who receive a permit will get to join other tree-seekers during an event on December 7. They can find their perfect tree and cut it down, as well as enjoy a Holiday Open House at the visitor center with warm beverages, tasty treats, unique gifts, and much more.

The online-only lottery entry opens on November 1 and closes on November 12. The random drawing will be held on November 13, and winners will be notified via email no later than November 15. Winners must call the visitor center by November 22 and pay the $35 fee per tree (limit two trees per family). If payment is not received by the deadline, your permit will be forfeited and given to another participant.

If you want to participate, there are a few things to keep in mind. Only hand tools will be allowed to chop your favorite tree, such as a handsaw or ax. A park pass, or daily pass, will be required for each vehicle that enters the park, and both 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles are allowed. If you have the proper, high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle, you will have the chance to go further into the backcountry of the park to find your tree. 

statre park tree cutting

If you have the right vehicle, you can go deeper into the park. Courtesy of Golden Gate State Park (Facebook).

The tree cutting event will happen no matter the weather, so dress accordingly. Seriously, what screams "holiday tradition" more than being bundled up in a wonderful forest, looking for your perfect tree while snow lightly falls around you? Not much.

Harvesting your tree this year won't only give you a beautiful holiday centerpiece, it helps keep the forest in the park healthy and thriving. 

"By cutting a Christmas tree, the permit holders will assist Golden Gate Canyon State Park in thinning overcrowded and dense vegetation. This selective thinning will improve the overall forest health and reduce the impacts of future wildfires," says CPW

In addition to helping nature, you can also help your fellow man. 

"Visitors can warm up at the visitor center with hot drinks, cookies, candy canes and a 20 percent discount on unique presents from our gift shop. In the spirit of giving, canned goods will be collected for the local food bank to help those in need," CPW says.

To learn more and register, visit the Golden Gate Canyon State Park site. Lottery registration access will be posted on this site starting on November 1.